Artist impression of the New Museum at Perth Cultural Centre
31 July 2016

Bold new museum links past, present and future

  • Perth Cultural Centre

Western Australia's world-class new museum is designed to be a State, national and international drawcard, offering compelling visitor experiences within dramatic architecture that links contemporary and historic buildings.

Unveiling the design today, Premier Colin Barnett said it was an exciting time for all West Australians.

"This is a bold project, being delivered by a bold Liberal National Government that gets things done," Mr Barnett said.

"I am pleased to announce that Brookfield Multiplex, with its international and Australian architecture team of OMA and HASSELL, has been awarded the contract to design and construct the new museum.

"The concept cannot fail to impress. It is bold and distinctive, from the vast public plaza to spacious galleries that overlook the CBD and link with important heritage buildings.

"West Australians will share in a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a vibrant new cultural home in the heart of Perth, and to change the way people from around the world engage with the State and our unique stories."

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. There will also be education studios, viewing areas to see scientists and curators at work, and retail, food and beverage outlets.

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said it would not only create a visual landmark, it would be a living building with enthralling and interactive exhibits.

"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," he 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. This idea, like many in the design, was inspired by an item in the museum's collections, in this case a geological specimen with a vein of gold."

Mr Day said the new museum was taking a 'people first' approach, with a State-wide program of public engagement to shape the stories to be shared.

"Together, we are creating a modern centre that helps us connect with each other, explore our amazing home and celebrate our place in the world," he said.

"Already, thousands of West Australians have contributed through the WA Faces project, and there will be continuous interaction to ensure the museum adapts, changes and remains relevant to the people it serves."

The Premier said Brookfield Multiplex had met the State's requirements for design excellence, creativity, functionality and value for money.

"It will be a gateway to our State's unique Aboriginal culture, our diverse and multicultural history, our extraordinary environments and incredible biodiversity, all of which will be underpinned by the Western Australian Museum's internationally recognised scientific and cultural research," he said.

Fundamental to the project will be efficiency and sustainability, with an innovative Energy and Thermal Solution combining solar power and water heat-exchange systems to support energy savings right across the Perth Cultural Centre.

Mr Barnett said early site works would start in the next few months, with construction expected to begin in early 2017.

"The project will support up to 3,300 jobs, with about 1,800 workers to be employed on-site during the construction phase," he said.

"Local content is a high priority, with the Managing Contractor expecting to source about 80 per cent of the goods and services from WA."

The new museum is on schedule to open in 2020.