A state of the art immersive facility, bringing to life the legacy of the Royal Australian Navy

The Maritime Museum's new Warship Pavilion involved collaboration and engineering innovation to deliver a striking structure that is a functional and eye-catching addition to the venue. Marking the centenary of World War 1 and commemorating 100 years of service by the Royal Australian Navy, the pavilion was designed to create a transition experience for visitors from the waterfront dock onto two naval vessels: HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow.

Throughout the works, the team worked closely to ensure buildability - navigating structural and geographical challenges to ensure that berthing (shiploads), wind on the building, and the dead and live loads did not exceed the capacity of the existing pier structure. The structure is a unique steel frame building with Bondek floors that involved a number of complex transfers. It had to be designed so that the berthing (shiploads), wind on the building and the dead and live loads did not exceed the capacity of the existing pier structure. Buildability was also critical as the ships required an entrance area and both the pier and ships were to remain completely operational throughout construction.

The result is a lightweight steel frame involving a number of transfers, with a complex stepped geometry using Kingspan panels to span the full façade height and showcase the structure's unique articulated appearance.

The design seeks to bring to life the narratives of war and enliven the visitors' relationship with the vessels, waterfront, and broader museum precinct. Using standard materials and a focus on sustainability, the impressive structure complements the scale, form, and colour of the vessels and the surrounding marine environment.

Client: Australian National Maritime Museum

Builder: Stephen Edwards Construction

Value: $11M

Completion: 2015

Sector: Government & Public, Art & Culture

Services: Structural, Facade


  • 2017 International Architecture Award
  • 2016 World Architecture Festival – Display Category
  • 2016 MBA Excellence Award – Public Buildings, $5M-$10M
  • 2016 MBA Excellence Award – Best Use of Steel
  • 2016 AIA Public Architecture – Commendation
  • 2016 ASI Awards NSW/ACT – High Commendation for Steel Excellence in Clad Structures
  • Master Builders Australia – National Commercial/Industrial Construction Award, $5M-$10M