St Catherine's College,
Indigenous Student Accommodation

University of Western Australia  

The Indigenous Housing Project at St Catherine’s College, University of Western Australia campus, is a proposed student accommodation building, particular to Indigenous students, to support an existing indigenous student programs within the College.  The proposed building design not only responds to the cultural nuauces of indigenous students, but recognises the existing constraints and opportunities of the existing College and proposes a response that creates an overall enhancement for its entire student population. 

Wilson Architects were the successful winners of a shortlisted design competition

Our scheme creates shared community living groups within the overall student population, enabling a distinguishable feature of indigenous culture; their connection to and creation of community. 

Our proposal aims to support Indigenous principles of landscape and country, and acknowledges the importance of identity through an individual’s occupation and sense of belonging, rather than be prescribed through the building.  It also leverages the inherent pastoral support, already existing within the College, by forming groups that vertically integrate different year groups into shared living arrangements which belong to common living spaces with diverse function.   This enables the individual to belong to a place and a smaller group within the broader College, rather than as an individual who simply forms part of an entire College population.


The common living spaces also support and reinforce a culture of living and learning, enabling a variety of social learning opportunities.  Learning has traditionally been seen as a solitary activity, however this in particular has been proven to be ineffective with indigenous students. Our proposal challenges the individual learner paradigm, creating places and opportunities for more collaborative learning.  By using transparent walls to break down the barriers between active learning spaces, it opens up lines of vision and sound between spaces to make students, staff and public feel connected to the broader physical and learning landscape. 

The living campus combines the living / learning experience, where learning is culturally reinforced in a social, supported and interactive environment




Winning design competition.

Construction due to commence end 2017.

Project Value


Key Personnel
Hamilton Wilson,
Nick Lorenz, Tom Sealy, Oscar Bouman, Kevin Park,
Alex Quah-Smith,
Jonathan Morehen

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