The acoustic properties of timber make it a natural for a school auditorium

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Tonkin Zulaikha Greer were the winners of a design competition for the Joy Yeo Performing Arts Centre at the heart of Roseville College. The building is the centrepiece of the masterplan for the site, creating a unified campus following the redevelopment of much of the school.

The brief for the building accommodates a wide range of functions to foster the growing music and drama program at the school. The budget was modest, and this required a very careful selection of materials and finishes to ensure quality and durability.

The Centre includes a 350-seat auditorium, with state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound equipment, housing a variety of activities ranging from intimate performances to full stage musical productions. The Centre also provides an extensive range of specialist rooms including orchestra and band rehearsal rooms, music class rooms, drama studio, recital rooms, practice rooms, a computer and keyboard laboratory, instrument storage and staff rooms.

Architect: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

Builder: St Hilliers Construction


"For the acoustic screens, timber was chosen as it is easy to manufacture in different depths and thicknesses" says TZG associate director Wolfgang Ripberger, "and also to give the auditorium the desired level of quality and distinction." The specific timber used is select Jarrah. "It had to be a reflective material that did not absorb sound and the density of the Jarrah was ideal for this purpose." The timber was also chosen to give the space a warmer atmosphere, and to recall the timber used to construct many musical instruments. Its rich tones accord with the colouring selected for the auditorium.

Acoustic purposes also dictated the choice of wood for the floors, not only in the auditorium but also in the music classrooms. The Rose Gum was also chosen to give warmth to those spaces, and to complement the rich colours selected for the timber screens, upholstery, and other finishes.


Timbers used in this case study:



Cladding: western red cedar
Sun screening: western red cedar



Rose Gum 75 x 25 select grade

Skirting is 120x32/120x19 finger jointed pine

Internal Paneling: 

Acoustic Wall/ceiling panelling is Sonapanel 9mm slotted Hoop Pine veneered plywood

Servery cladding is select grade Jarrah

Joinery Cabinetry: 

Select grade Sydney Blue Gum

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