Western Australia’s rich history and contemporary culture come to life at the WA Museum Boola Bardip, which was recently opened to the public at the Perth Cultural Centre.

Designed as a collaboration between two international design practices, Hassell and OMA, the new Museum has been conceptualised as a ‘collection of stories’ about Western Australia’s diversity as well as past and present portrayed through revitalised heritage buildings and brand new structures that have been connected to offer a variety of curatorial opportunities.

The renewed Museum offers an inspiring environment for both the local community as well as global visitors to gather and engage in diverse cultural experiences. Additional spaces for exhibitions and events, national and international touring shows, and new retail and dining opportunities have also been provided.

The renovated historic structures and the new buildings are connected through two intersecting circulation loops – one vertical and one horizontal – offering multiple routes to visitors for a diversity of experiences at the Museum. Exemplifying Western Australia’s rich architectural and cultural history, the buildings allow visitors to create their own unique experiences.

The ‘City Room’ at the heart of the project is a sheltered, outdoor civic space that provides a platform for a variety of activities including exhibitions, cultural events and daily programmes. In addition to the Museum, the space can be used by cultural institutions in the neighbourhood as well as the general public.

The architectural collaboration of Hassell + OMA delivered the Museum in partnership with managing contractor Multiplex, drawing on their extensive combined experience in design and construction of large scale cultural projects. The team was led by Hassell’s Mark Loughnan and Peter Dean, and OMA’s David Gianotten and Paul Jones.

Hassell principal Mark Loughnan said, “The Museum carefully combines and embraces historic and contemporary architecture to provide opportunities for exploration, sharing of ideas, and ongoing storytelling.

“We are proud to have designed a new and unique architectural identity that also opens and connects generously to its context and the city,” he added.

OMA managing partner – architect David Gianotten said, “The Museum is deeply rooted in Western Australia. We are proud to have created an architecture where the State’s culture is passed on and continuously made.”

OMA regional director Paul Jones said, “The Museum is unique in both the Australian and international cultural landscape. It invites visitors to not only passively look at exhibitions, but also become active creators of their own museum experiences. Visitors can choose museum journeys relevant to them and engage in dialogues with each other.”

Hassell design director and principal Peter Dean said, “We’re proud to have successfully designed and delivered an international civic project that involved extensive collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders, in particular the Whadjuk elders. This collaboration and local community consultation helped evolve the WA Museum Boola Bardip to become another legacy project for Perth’s future as an international cultural destination.”

Western Australian Museum chief executive officer Alec Coles said the new WA Museum Boola Bardip is a landmark building within the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre precinct.

“The architectural team of Hassell + OMA and the contractors Multiplex have produced a magnificent new building that embraces the heritage buildings within, whilst creating spectacular new experiences. It is a Museum of which I hope all Western Australians will be proud.”

Image Credit: Peter Bennetts