The new Curtin School of Design and Built Environment building by John Wardle Architects (JWA) is one of five key buildings in the Exchange Precinct - Greater Curtin Stage One.


REALMstudios have worked closely with JWA in crafting a highly integrated, unique and poetic landscape response as part of the broader Exchange project. The new faculty building features an important ground plane and large north-oriented semi-enclosed courtyard, which provides a central focus to the building.  

This creates an intimate relationship with internal uses/operations. The courtyard is minimalist in order to facilitate flexibility for various uses and events – it is performative. In this way the design supports external exhibition installations, informal and movable furniture and group experimentation / cooperation as part of the maker-space. 


A sunken ‘raingarden’ over deep soil that penetrates through the basement creates a ‘reef’ or place for gathering and activation, in an otherwise large expanse. During rain events stormwater will be directed to the raingarden, then flow through a rill in the courtyard surface, into a vegetated soak returning to a holding tank for recycling. This water narrative and cleaning system supports the ‘Living Knowledge Stream’ vision - a landscape which articulates a broader context of song-lines and living indicators associated with water, ecology and place. 

REALMstudios has developed the strategy in cooperation with the Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS), in an ongoing relationship which has determined plant species, design language and overall intent – imbuing the project with deeper meaning.


With Lendlease appointed as the D&C contractor the project is now well under construction.

18230 Living Stream Sketch axo.jpg

curtin university school of design & built environment