Western Australia Maritime Museum, Australia

The spectacular Western Australia Maritime Museum on the Fremantle waterfront was designed as a local landmark that would showcase the town’s colourful maritime history.

The highly unconventional shape of the building presented a range of technical, practical and aesthetic challenges. Aurecon provided structural, marine and civil engineering services as well as façade design.

One of the tallest timber structures in the southern hemisphere, the 35 metre high western gallery is framed by six Tasmanian Oak glulam arches supported on elegant concrete pylons rising from the seabed.

Construction at the western end of the building required the temporary reclamation of part of the harbour to form an artificial peninsula on which the main gallery could be built. On completion, the sand and limestone fill was removed, allowing the sea to surround the building on three sides.

The complex structure required extensive computer modelling, as the need for long-term durability in a harsh marine environment was a major consideration. Around 1 300 shop drawings were prepared for the timber, precast and steelwork components alone.

Completed in 2002, the museum is now the permanent home of Australia II, the historic America's Cup winner, and many other significant maritime exhibits.