The WA Museum Boola Bardip redevelopment blends heritage buildings and contemporary architecture to deliver a visionary museum experience. Part of the Perth Cultural Centre, the new museum has been designed by Hassell to become a landmark destination and leverages the latest trends in design, sustainability, technology, accessibility and visitor engagement to create a unique space that delights and inspires.

Opened in 2020, the new museum built by Multiplex is three times the size of the old structure and includes eight permanent galleries, a 1,000-square-metre temporary exhibition gallery, a shop and a cafe. As part of this project, four buildings were connected by new looped walkways, improving accessibility and traffic flow.

The challenging requirements:

Heritage projects require immense consideration and creative solutions to ensure the preservation and enhancement of their original beauty.

Respect for heritage

The original heritage-listed museum buildings added significant complexity to the redevelopment, from the need to strip lead paint to restrictions about the colours that could be used. The recoating of these historical buildings was required to align with the paint ‘look’ from when the buildings were initially built. Extra caution was required with coatings that were applied to original sandstone masonry, which would absorb and transfer moisture.

High-traffic areas

Since thousands of people would walk the museum’s spaces each day, it was important to have painted surfaces that could be cleaned continuously.

Lighting and glass impacts

Light installations and reflective glass are used throughout the museum, causing reflections on walls. This required the specified solutions to reduce glare and reflections.

Project outcomes:

Finishes for the heritage buildings

Porter’s Paint was specified to allow moisture transfer from the historical sandstone. A coating of modern paint would not have lasted in this environment.

Lead paint removal

As the heritage buildings were initially painted with lead paint, each space within these buildings had to be stripped rather than painted over. Entire painting systems had to be applied to achieve this and deliver the desired result. Both interior and exterior areas were replaced with water-based finishes, which were rigorously tested to ensure they provided adequate protection.

Coating testing

The colour experts at Dulux conducted extensive testing of original coatings, including Dumond testing of every substrate in each building.

Matte finishes to reduce lighting and glass impacts

Due to the harsh fluorescent installation lighting prevalent throughout the museum project, matte finishes were used on interior walls to help reduce glare and reflections.

Protection for high-traffic areas

With heavy daily foot traffic and associated knocks, scrapes and scuffs, it was vital that the interior wall paint could be cleaned consistently. Dark colours were used throughout to reduce the appearance of marks or dirt that can build up over time. Dulux Wash & Wear was specified to meet these needs and provide a long-lasting, washable surface. 

Range of brands utilised

  • Dulux
  • Intergrain
  • Fosroc
  • Porter's Paint


Below ground basement waterproofing

  • Primer 24
  • Proofex 3100 HDPE rolls

Street level waterproofing

  • Nitoproof Liquid Systems
  • Proofex 3100 HDPE rolls


Exterior timber doors, window frames, trims and eaves

  • Intergrain UltraClear Exterior Matt (can also be used on the inside of exterior doors and window frames)

Dulux Paint:

Painted timber windows (interior and exterior)

  • Dulux Weathershield Matt

Painted pressed metal ceiling – galvanised steel (interior)

  • Dulux Wash & Wear Matt
  • Dulux Professional Total Prep

Porter's Paint:

Bare brick walls – aged uncoated substrate (interior)

  • Porter’s Lime Wash
  • Porter’s Undercoat Sealer

Photography by Ian Glen