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On a triumphant night at the Master Builders Australia 2021 National Excellence in Building & Construction Awards, both our Melbourne and Perth teams won major awards in two categories.

In our first appearance at the national awards since 2018, we were honoured to be presented with the National Education Facility Award for the Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School Gym, in addition to the National Commercial/Industrial Construction Award Under $5 million for the Warders Hotel & Emily Taylor Restaurant.

After receiving the 2021 MBAV Excellence in Construction of Commercial Buildings $20-30m Award in January, the Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School (PEGS) Gymnasium and Events Centre proceeded to be nominated and presented the National Education Facility Award. This prestigious award recognises and honours world-class built education environments.

The PEGS Gym is a multipurpose hall for health and fitness together with large student events, assemblies, and performances. Located at PEGS’ Keilor East campus, it operates as both a civic centre for the campus and a gateway for parents, spectators, and neighbouring schools.

The dramatic new building designed by McBride Charles Ryan is an architectural jewel. The south façade and main civic interface features a colonnade that articulates permeability at pedestrian level with scalloped, snap-in brickwork. To the north, the building frames the main school oval, heightening the drama of the field of play and intensifying the engagement between players and spectators.

Internally, the building features two full-length basketball courts, tiered seating, a fitness centre, student amenities, offices, classrooms, storage, and multipurpose and function rooms. The project also included significant upgrades to the structure, floor and finishes of the existing gymnasium. A full-height operable wall connects the two buildings internally, instantly doubling the area for performance and competition.

Following on from receiving a suite of accolades at the 2021 MBWA Awards including Best Historic Restoration or Renovation $1.5-5m, Best Retail Building $1.5-5m, and Construction on a Challenging Site, the Warders Hotel & Emily Taylor Restaurant project went on to be nominated and presented the National Commercial/Industrial Construction Under $5m Award.

Located adjacent to the Fremantle Markets, the three blocks of heritage-listed Warders’ Cottages were originally constructed as accommodation for the Fremantle Prison warders and their families. These iconic cottages were brought back to life as boutique hotel suites with the well-known front façade of the limestone cottages remaining untouched. A simple interior palette was applied to respect the existing features of these utilitarian but elegant cottages. Within the cottages, a small aperitivo cafe was also built – Gimlet. The small corner bar was built into the ground floor of one of the cottages and is open late into the night, serving classic cocktails.

Behind one of the cottage blocks, sits Emily Taylor – a 450-person modern, Asian fusion restaurant and bar that has now become a Fremantle staple. The lofty metal roof pays tribute to the surrounding markets and creates an open dining area below which opens into a courtyard garden.

We’re incredibly proud of our teams’ dedication to these projects and honoured to have them recognised by Australia’s leading industry association. The pair of national awards is a true testament that our safe set of hands and standard of quality spans across the country.

Images: Master Builders Australia, Tom Roe, Dion Robeson

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