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Perth’s new cultural museum cantilevers over heritage buildings

Tim Gibson

3 December 2020


PERTH'S new museum located in the city's cultural centre was officially opened to the public November 21, 2020.

Jointly designed by Australian-based Hassell and Dutch-based OMA, the WA Museum Boola Bardip is intended to represent “a collection of stories” that track the state’s rich history up to the present day.

The entire project is intended as a focal point for local and international visitors to gather and explore both historical and contemporary cultural experiences.

Above and Below: The museum makes a dramatic appearance on the Perth streetscape (images courtesy of Peter Bennetts courtesy of Hassell and OMA).

This idea of connecting the old to the new runs throughout the museum’s design itself, which dramatically cantilevers over historical buildings.

These heritage buildings are connected to their contemporary counterparts, creating spaces - and perspectives - that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

This allows for such architectural features as the outdoor “City Room” which will hold public cultural programs, daily activities, and a special nine-day cultural festival upon the Museum's opening.

The USD $286M project will also feature 7,000 square metres of exhibition space as well as the aforementioned gallery suspended over an original 19th Century building.

Above: The museum seeks to unite heritage architecture with contemporary (image courtesy of Peter Bennetts courtesy of Hassell and OMA).

Noting the unique perspectives both architectural firms bring to the project, OMA Regional Director Paul Jones said that the team had designed a building that sat comfortably within both the international and Australian cultural landscapes, yet was wholly its own.

“It invites visitors to not only passively look at exhibitions, but also become active creators of their own museum experiences,” he elaborated in a press release.

“Visitors can choose museum journeys relevant to them and engage in dialogues with each other.”

The Western Australian Museum has already praised Hassell and OMA, claiming it will prove to be a new landmark for the city.

Header images courtesy of Peter Bennetts courtesy of Hassell and OMA.


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