Bid for $1b concert hall at Elizabeth Quay
Bold vision: Shane O'Riley's vision. Illustration: Unique 8 Design Studio

Could this be Perth's audacious answer to the Sydney Opera House?

Straddling a site of nearly 50,000sqm, The Arc is Burswood designer Shane O'Riley's vision of an iconic development for Elizabeth Quay.

With its sweeping arches and skeletal structure, the Perth International Concert Hall is every inch the bold centrepiece.

The surreal design language continues inside, through two opulent theatres, an art gallery and a restaurant with panoramic views.

Mr O'Riley's design won best concept at last year's Building Designers Association of WA awards and has attracted interest from Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Malaysia.

It was also designed with sustainability and Perth's planning approvals process in mind.

The kicker? A price tag of well over $1 billion.

"When you walk into this building, the outside shell is also the inside shell and you get the impression you're walking through a musical instrument," Mr O'Riley, 44, said.

"As a sculptural building, it has to compete against the Sydney Opera House, but it had to be more futuristic, more dynamic.

"It had to look like an organism that was drinking from the river and it had to provide an energy down William Street to draw people in.

"There is a very strong disconnect between the water and the city at a pedestrian level and this makes that connection."

Mr O'Riley, head designer at Visionary Vanguard, is completing a multimillion-dollar residential project on the South Perth foreshore for former Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana.

He urged the State Government to take some architectural risks and capitalise on a golden opportunity at Elizabeth Quay.

"If you're going to be throwing billions of dollars at public infrastructure works, I think someone needs to take a step back and think about these iconic buildings," he said.

Curtin University sustainability expert and Infrastructure Australia board member Peter Newman said he loved the concept, but not the price, unless the building could pay for itself.

The West Australian

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