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A break from tradition at new Chinese chancellery

THE newly opened WA Chancellery for the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China is anything but typical.

Rather than a grand pagoda-style building often associated with traditional Chinese architecture, the stately East Perth Chancellery is a blend of old and new design concepts.

Designed by Spowers Architects and constructed by BGC, the $7.8 million chancellery is a first for WA, being the only purpose-built chancellery in the State and also the only one to combine accommodation, administration and ceremonial facilities.

Design architect Peter Skinner said that, with three street frontages on Brown and Plain streets and Henry Lawson Walk, Spowers had worked to make the final design sympathetic to the chancellery’s surroundings.

“The design philosophy was to produce a series of defined buildings that were befitting to their use as a consular complex,” Mr Skinner said.

“The complex is deliberately non committal to any style but it still projects an embassy feel due to the visual weight and presence of the buildings.”

The 5425sqm complex is an assembly of three separate buildings linked by a series of landscaped courtyards and pathways.

The chancellery comprises an office building, staff accommodation and a major public building, which includes function hall, banqueting and reception facilities.

Mr Skinner said the use of each building, and their hierarchy within the complex, was reflected in the variations in the building materials and finishes.

Spowers has been involved in the design and construction of the complex since 1997 when the Chinese Government first tendered for the vacant land.

“The location of the chancellery was extremely important as the clients wanted a site that would allow them to have a visual presence while still having their staff close to the CBD,” Mr Skinner said.

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