The renovation of Raine Square is underway, with buildings dating back to the 1800s being reimagined for modern needs.
The Raine Square precinct consists of six heritage buildings: Wentworth Hotel (1928); Royal Hotel (1882, 1894, 1906); Bohemia Hotel (1879, 1939, 1984); Glyde Chambers (facade and belvedere only, also known as the Hobnob Building); 10-14 Queen Street (1925) and William Street Shopfronts (facade only, c. 1890).
According to developer Charter Hall, a modern upgrade has been a long time coming for Raine Square, which has seen increased pressure from surrounding developments and increases in vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
“Perth has gone through a significant transformation over the last seven years,” says Charter Hall’s regional development manager for WA, Bradley Norris.
“That’s included some major projects such as the Perth City Link, the redevelopment of Yagan Square, the completion of the new Perth stadium and Elizabeth Quay, which includes a large amount of new premium hotels whose guests are easily directed towards the CBD. With all of these things happening in Perth, the CBD itself was becoming much more of an urban environment – the city was changing and we were seeing that.”
Designing for modern needs
Perth-based architect Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick has designed the precinct to improve general access and pedestrian flow in and around the precinct, while strengthening commuter connections between the Perth Underground train station, public transport and the broader CBD. Consideration was also given to the precinct’s character, and ways to make it appealing to pedestrians and commuters.
Key design features include the creation of a square and a laneway to open up the site’s accessibility. The former public plaza has also been transformed into an improved public space that activates the area for anything from casual meetings and relaxation to public events and celebrations.
As the home to some of Perth’s most beloved heritage buildings – The Royal Hotel and the Wentworth Building – it was important to undertake a careful restoration that would retain the buildings’ character and charm.
“The key was to consider how the buildings were being used at the time and the relationship they would have with the development,” says Norris.
“We really saw the importance of these buildings and we think the precinct wouldn’t be the same without them.
“The biggest challenge was keeping an eye on the buildings’ past while modernising them for the future. We didn’t want to rush – we took our time. One of the things we really thought about was what you could do to open up the internal spaces.”
Looking to the future
As well as designing a precinct for the future, Charter Hall is also contributing to the future of medical research through the Raine Medical Research Foundation.
The Foundation originated when Mary Raine left her entire property estate, including the Raine Square site, to the University of Western Australia for medical research. Since its inception, the Foundation has funded a range of investigative research on human disease.
With Raine Square, Charter Hall’s fundraising efforts will be donated to medical research to treat children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, learning difficulties, autism and a range of communication and motor disorders.