Working with architects Cameron Chisholm Nicol, Match went through a number of iterations for the project including looking at adding an extra floor to increase the number of apartments.
"However, from a heritage point of view, this would have been extremely invasive, as well as structurally catastrophic."
Instead, Match took the unusual approach of working within the building's existing structure. While this significantly reduced the number of apartments, it also reduced construction costs.
Cameron Chisholm Nicol associate director Deborah Binet says that the 1922 building was of historical significance and had a number of attractive features including the heritage brick facades as well as the internal timber columns, beams and struts spanning quite long distances.
"It was structurally very sound, but it was very dilapidated, with most of it having been empty for several years," Binet says.
While the brickwork and columns needed some remedial work, and patches of floorboards needed replacing, it was the process of incorporating the 183 apartments into the original structure that was the real design challenge.
"We started by inserting three apartment blocks into the large, square floorplate," she says. "Then, by removing sections of roof sheets and floorboards, we cut two atriums into the space. That allowed us to get natural light into the centre of the development and into all the apartments."
Apartment set-out was determined by the location of the existing jarrah columns a complex task due to many of the structural elements not being square. Double loading the apartments in each block meant they all have balconies, providing either external or atrium views.