New Western Australia Museum A Gateway For Journeys Of Discovery

Exploration and self-discovery.

These are the tenets that drive the development of the New Museum for Western Australia.

The Government of Western Australia appointed Brookfield Multiplex, and its design team comprising HASSELL and OMA, as the Managing Contractor that will design and construct the new museum. The dramatic new design links contemporary architecture with the historic and heritage-listed buildings, creating a visual landmark for the State.

The $428.3 million project includes:

  • Heritage restoration works to Old Gaol, Jubilee, Beaufort and Hackett buildings
  • $1.6 million public art project at the New Museum Perth site
  • The design, production and installation of Museum content including collections, exhibitions, multimedia and artworks for gallery and activated circulation spaces
  • $17.3 million Harry Butler Research Centre at the Museum’s Collections and Research Centre, Welshpool.

The New Museum for WA will be almost four times bigger than the existing WA Museum – Perth, featuring nearly 7,000 square metres of galleries, including a 1,000 square metre space to stage large scale temporary exhibitions. It will also feature learning studios, spaces to see the behind the scenes work of the WA Museum as well as exciting retail and cafe spaces.

A large new temporary gallery space will complement the extensive permanent collection of the museum that includes renowned collections including the much-loved Blue Whale skeleton. The Museum will host a diverse range of cultural, retail and dining experiences, increasing visitor numbers especially after hours.

“Our vision for the design was to create spaces that promote engagement and collaboration, responding to the needs of the Museum and the community,” HASSELL Principal and Board Director Mark Loughnan, and OMA Managing Partner-Architect David Gianotten said.

“We want it to create a civic place for everyone, an interesting mix of heritage and contemporary architecture that helps revitalise the Perth Cultural Centre while celebrating the culture of Western Australia on the world stage. The design is based on the intersection of a horizontal and vertical loop creating large possibilities of curatorial strategies for both temporary and fixed exhibitions.

“At the heart of the design is a public space that is the central point of the new museum, in terms of both location and programming. It is a spectacular outdoor room framed by refurbished heritage buildings and intersected by new buildings and virtual platforms, enabling the diverse stories of Western Australia to be told.”

According to the Government of Western Australia, the New Museum is being developed with a philosophy of ‘People First’, providing meaningful and ongoing opportunities for the people of WA to have input into the content and visitor experiences.  Over the course of the Project, and well after the doors have opened in 2020, the Museum is encouraging all Western Australians to have input and share their stories.

“The New Museum will be a gateway to exploring Western Australia and a place where locals and visitors will begin their journey of discovery,” the WA Government stated.

“Innovative and engaging spaces will create a sense of WA’s unique character through its environment, landscape and people.

“Above all, we want to demonstrate Western Australia’s place in the world and showcase its extraordinary past and its exciting future.”

Project timeline

  • Project Definition Planning phase completed in 2014
  • Selection of Managing Contractor mid-2016
  • Early works commence in late 2016
  • Construction begins in early 2017
  • Building complete in 2019
  • Exhibition installation throughout 2019 – 2020
  • The New Museum complete and doors open in 2020.

Images courtesy HASSELL and Government of WA

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