01/08/2016 - 06:23

New museum design unveiled

01/08/2016 - 06:23

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New museum design unveiled

Construction of Western Australia’s new museum will commence early next year after the state government unveiled the winning design prepared by architects OMA and HASSELL, in tandem with Brookfield Multiplex.

The new structure links with the existing heritage buildings and is dominated by a large rectangular exhibition space on the upper levels.

It has been designed to maximise public access, with walkways leading into the open centre of the museum precinct and new entries built into the heritage buildings.

The building also provides for a substantial increase in commercial activity, to help fund the museum’s operations.

WA Museum chief executive Alec Coles said this would extend beyond leasing out museum spaces, as currently occurs, to include third party business operations.

“We’re looking to have as much of a mixed economy as we can,” Mr Coles told Business News.

“That could be food and beverage, it could be retail, it could be studios.

“It’s a really important part of the sustainability of the project.”

Mr Coles said the commercial operations would also help to activate the precinct.

The new building is the centrepiece of the $428 million New Museum Project that also includes revitalising the heritage buildings, new museum content, a $17.6 million research centre in Welshpool, and a $1.6 million public art commission.

Construction of the new building is budgeted to cost $265 million, with the remainder of the budget allocated to the above works plus project management and contingencies.

The museum will be almost four times bigger than the old museum, and feature nearly 7,000 square metres of galleries, including a single 1,000sqm space to stage blockbuster exhibitions.

The temporary gallery space will complement the permanent collection of the museum that includes the much-loved Blue Whale skeleton.

There will also be education studios and viewing areas to see scientists and curators at work.

Unveiling the design, Premier Colin Barnett said it was a bold project that was bound to stir discussion.

“Any great building, any great civic investment, is going to attract differing opinions, but I think this is a great design and a great asset for Western Australia,” he said at the launch.

Culture and Arts Minister John Day described it as the most significant public building in the city for 50 years.

“The architects have turned the museum concept inside out, a refreshing complement to the old museum’s combination of barred windows, bricked-in arches and high fences,” Mr Day said.

“In contrast, the new museum says ‘come on in’, starting with broad entry ways, expansive views and a golden band running around the exterior.”

Mr Barnett said Brookfield Multiplex had met the state’s requirements for design excellence, creativity, functionality and value for money. 

The design includes solar power and geothermal heating that is designed to generate energy savings across the Perth cultural centre.

Hassell principal Mark Loughnan and OMA managing partner-architect David Gianotten said their vision for the design was to create spaces that promoted engagement and collaboration, responding to the needs of the museum and the community.

“We want it to create a civic place for everyone, with an interesting mix of heritage and contemporary architecture, that helps revitalise the Perth Cultural Centre while celebrating the culture of Western Australia on the world stage,” they said in a statement.

Brookfield Multiplex regional managing director Chris Palandri said his firm was excited to bring together the international experience of OMA and Hassell.

Chamber of Arts and Culture WA chair Helen Cook said today’s announcement was a significant milestone and the pubic was looking forward to the opening of the new museum.

“We should not forget that an essential element to the museum’s success, once it is built, will be the political will to properly resource its ongoing operations,” she said.

“This will ensure that Western Australians enjoy the maximum benefit from this significant investment.

“Importantly, we see the new museum as a first step towards making the Perth Cultural Centre a metropolitan arts hub with international standing.”

Ms Cook called for the completion of a long-term vision for the development of arts and cultural infrastructure in Perth.

Today’s announcement comes four months after the Brookfield Multiplex consortium was named preferred proponent, beating out competing proposals that included construction companies John Holland and Doric and architects Hames Sharley and Cameron Chisholm Nicol.

Construction of the museum is due to be completed in 2019, with the building to open to the public in 2020.

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