Candidates line up to build new WA museum

Stephen Bevis

Three of the world’s most famous architects are competing to design and build the new $428 million WA Museum.

Firms headed by Norman Foster, the mind behind London’s “The Gherkin” skyscraper, French architect Jean Nouvel and Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas - all winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize for Architecture - are in the three consortia short-listed to develop the Perth Cultural Centre site.

Construction firm John Holland heads a design and construction team involving Foster and Partners, which also designed the British Museum’s Great Court, and local architects Hames Sharley.

A joint venture of the Doric Group and Tecnicas Reunidas builders have teamed with Ateliers Jean Nouvel, responsible for the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, and Perth architects Cameron Chisholm Nicol and Parry and Rosenthal Architects.

The third shortlisted consortium is Brookfield Multiplex working with Mr Koolhaas’ Rotterdam firm OMA, which designed the Musee National Des Beaux Arts in Quebec, and local architects HASSELL.

Arts Minister John Day said the three consortia now would work with the Government on their design proposals for the new museum to ensure they met the State’s requirements.

The successful managing contractor is expected to be selected later this year. Building is due to start next year and the museum is projected to open in 2020.

“The consortia incorporate design teams responsible for some of the world’s most iconic designs including museum and cultural projects in Paris, Quebec and London,” Mr Day said.

Early works for the new museum project - $32 million was allocated in the 2015-16 Budget - are under way including conservation to heritage buildings at the Perth site and improvements to the Welshpool Collections and Research Centre, where most of the museum’s 4.5 million specimens are kept.

The WA Museum has established four community panels to provide ongoing input to the project.

“With the State Government engaging in extensive and ongoing consultation with a range of reference groups and key stakeholders, we are confident we can provide the consortia with the best advice to ensure we get the world-class museum all West Australians deserve,” Mr Day said.

“The driving philosophy behind the museum is ‘people first’ and this will continue to be the Government’s focus.”

John Holland is building the Perth Children’s Hospital, Doric built the Albany Entertainment Centre and Brookfield Multiplex built Fiona Stanley Hospital and is currently working on the new Perth Stadium.