Southern Seawater Desalination Plant Parry and Rosenthal Architects

Apart from producing a well-designed and efficient plant, a particular focus for this project, was its harmonious integration into this beautiful natural coastal environment, 150km south of Perth. The new plant is located in an abandoned quarry and is surrounded by a landscaped berm which provides visual screening and acoustic insulation.

Our involvement as Architects in this project included input into the master planning & design of the site, and the design and documentation of all the plant buildings. Parry and Rosenthal were also engaged to provide architectural & contract administration services in the construction phase.

The design employs a clustered layout to minimise the plant footprint. It uses materials that are cost effective and durable and that successfully blend into the environment. Natural ventilation & lighting is utilised throughout. Although the buildings are large, their simple, cubic forms & colour minimise their visual scale and impact in the landscape.

The Administration and Control Building is the gateway to the site, controlling access and providing a central operation hub & testing facility for the plant. The building is oriented north-south with a sheltered entry that welcomes visitors and staff

Extensive glazing together with a light structure and floating roofs have been incorporated to achieve a sense of transparency and openness, and to provide extensive natural light and views. A symbolic desalinated freshwater reflection pool highlights the entry.

The energy required to power the plant is offset by the entire output of the Mumbida Wind Farm and the Greenough River Solar Farm being constructed near Geraldton. Energy efficient sensored lighting, air conditioning and low water use appliances are used throughout. Rainwater is collected and fed back into the adjacent wetland to the south. Low water use native landscaping is used throughout. The first stage of the project was completed on budget and 3 months early. Following the completion of the second stage, the full plant now provides 30% of the State’s water supply.


The new Southern Seawater Alliance Desalination Plant is the recipient of the following awards:

2012 Australian Institute of Architects Award, Category: Commercial Architecture
2012 Master Builders Award for Excellence, Category: Commercial Industrial Building
2012 Global Water Awards, Desalination Plant of the Year
2011 Engineering Excellence Award, Category: Infrastructure and Building
2011 Engineering Excellence Award, Category: Management of Engineering
2011 Engineering Excellence Awards, Overall winner for all categories