Architecture, planning and design outfit COX has pushed further into the Western Australian market, bringing on board Fremantle based Coda Studio.

In its latest announcement, CODA announced that it had entered into an agreement to merge with COX under which CODA directors Emma Williamson and Kieran Wong are now directors at COX and CODA’s 25 staff will relocate to the COX Murray Street studio in Perth’s CBD .

For Cox, the move represents a further push into the Western Australian market, where it worked in conjunction with HASSELL and HKS on the design for the new 60,000 seat Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct and where other of its projects include the Carnarvon Police and Justice Complex, the Albany Entertainment Centre and the District Court of Western Australia.

Significant projects for CODA include Charter Hall’s new office in Perth, a refurbishment of the boarding house at Perth College and a range of commercial, education and housing projects.

Nevertheless, the agreement comes at a challenging time for the design sector in Western Australia, which is being impacted by skyrocketing office vacancy levels and an economy which has been contracting for three years as the construction phase of the resource sector boom has wound up.

Participants in the latest Property Council of Australia Property Industry Confidence Survey were less optimistic about forward work schedules and staffing expectations in Western Australia compared with any other state or territory.

In a statement, Williamson said the move would enable CODA to take on larger and more complex projects.

She said COX had a strong portfolio of public work as well as values which were compatible with those of CODA.

“By becoming part of an international practice, we can truly engage in multi-faceted conversations about place and consider how architects can positively affect cities and places everywhere,” Williamson said.

In a Tweet, COX welcomed CODA directors and its staff to the COX team.