Marist Auditorium at Newman College in Churchlands, Western Australia adds a touch of theatrical brilliance with bold red feature walls in COLORBOND Metallic steel on three sides of the building.

Designed by EIW Architects for the client, Newman College, the $10-million auditorium showcases COLORBOND Metallic steel cladding in the rich red colour of Aries, drawing attention from its highly prominent location on the school's Marcellin campus. The design was led by project architect Tony D'Andrea along with design architects Philip Idle and Chloe Summers.

EIW design architect Chloe Summers said she hoped her project, which was then still in construction, would wow its audience at its official opening, timed to coincide with the start of the school year.

"The performing arts centre sits on a prominent site on Empire Avenue, so we planned to provide a new contemporary face for the college," Summers explained. "We wanted to tie in the language of the existing buildings – which feature limestone colours and COLORBOND steel in the colour Manor Red – but with a contemporary palette."

The architects carried out a rigorous process of research and analysis before choosing COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries for the feature cladding, which makes up about 50 per cent of the total cladding and is visible to passing motorists and students playing on the college oval behind the building.

"We went through quite a lengthy process to select a colour for the feature panels: we looked at products for their durability advantages and colour range," said EIW project architect Tony D'Andrea. "We were favouring another product because at that stage the new COLORBOND Metallic steel colour Aries hadn't quite come to market.

"Fortunately a member of the school's board – who also works for BlueScope – mentioned COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries to us as a potential material option for this project," D'Andrea said. "We then worked with BlueScope and Kingspan to see if we could use the COLORBOND Metallic steel Aries colour on the feature panels.

"With our mind set on COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries for the feature panels, we wanted to ensure that other facade materials wouldn't steal the limelight. Upfront construction cost and ongoing maintenance were strong considerations when resolving construction detailing," D'Andrea continued.

This was the first time that building contractor PS Structures had installed Kingspan panels, according to project manager Vernon Houston. Even before the building was fully commissioned, it was obvious that the Kingspan panels made from COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries offered very good thermal performance, he said.

"Even during the last stages of construction when the building wasn't fully operational, you could appreciate the way the panels protected the building from heat load. When you walk into the foyer from the outside you can feel a distinct temperature change,” Houston added.

Kingspan area manager Russell Hann said the company was consulted early on in the design process and specified product according to the architects' goals. "EIW Architects were keen for the cladding to have a strong visual impact so we were delighted when they chose the colour Aries from the COLORBOND Metallic steel range," Hann said.

"This was the first time we had supplied COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries into a project and it's turned out to be one of the best buildings we've ever done. It's a brilliant colour that's generating a lot of interest. I've since suggested to some other architects who were considering using the colour to go out to Newman College and they've all commented on how impressive it looks in the real world.”

"It looks sophisticated without being ostentatious, it feels great inside – all the proportions have been carefully designed – and we were able to keep the look and feel clean and simple while tackling all those underlying complexities,” says EIW design architect Philip Idle.

Principal steel products:

Feature panels: Kingspan BENCHMARK Evolution made from COLORBOND Metallic steel in the colour Aries.

Auditorium panels: Kingspan Architectural Wall Panel System in Plank profile (KS1000 PL FM) in the colour Portico Grey.

Stage panels: Kingspan Architectural Wall Panel System in Wave profile (KS1000 WV FM) in the colour Gull Grey.

High level parapets: COLORBOND steel in LYSAGHT PANELRIB profile in the colour Windspray.

Stage and auditorium roof - Administration roof: LYSAGHT KLIP-LOK CLASSIC 700 made from COLORBOND steel in the colour Windspray.

Photographer: Tony McDonough