Architecture – Hassell + OMA have completed the New Museum for Western Australia in the heart of Perth’s cultural precinct. The building will inaugurate in November and will share the stories and visions of Western Australian people – especially Aboriginal voices – as well as their territories, and heritage.
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The contemporary architecture integrates heritage-listed buildings, showcasing the history of the site and the various uses of the buildings over time. Two intersecting circulation loops – one vertical and one horizontal – connect and organise in multiple ways the Museum’s content, which includes a world-renowned meteorite collection and an iconic blue whale skeleton.
Constructed by Multiplex, New Museum WA has been developed with a ‘people-first approach’ and features eight major galleries, a 1,000sqm special exhibition gallery, a café plus food and beverage options, retail and function spaces as well as learning studios for people of all ages.
OMA Managing Partner – Architect David Gianotten says: “The New Museum has been deliberately designed as a place for conversations, to inspire new ideas and knowledge of global relevance. It is a museum that both showcases and stimulates discoveries.”
“Western Australia’s natural resources, culture and history are diverse. Instead of prescribing a singular interpretation of the region, the loops enable visitors to engage with the Museum’s collection in distinctive ways, and tell the manifold stories of the place,” adds Gianotten.
A core element of the design is the ‘City Room’ – a sheltered outdoor public space at the centre of the building, framed by the refurbished heritage buildings and a large cantilevered volume. As a “Museum threshold”, the ‘City Room’ is an open space inviting everyone to participate with a variety of activities, , from large scale community events to smaller gatherings.
“We wanted it to be a civic place for everyone; an interesting mix of heritage and contemporary architecture, that contributes to the revitalisation of Perth’s cultural precinct whilst celebrating the culture of Western Australia on the world stage,” says Hassell principal Mark Loughnan.
A large new temporary gallery space complements the Museum’s extensive permanent collection and the ‘City Room’. The architecture houses also a diverse range of cultural programs, and new retail and dining opportunities. New Museum for Western Australia “is a bold and dynamic architectural statement that will draw locals and visitors to the cultural heart of Western Australia.” Adds Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman.
All photos: courtesy of New Museum for Western Australia.