Source: WA Museum.
Stephen Bevis, International hunt for new museum design, The Western Australian, 26 November 2014
A major milestone has been reached in the long road to a new WA Museum, with the State Government inviting expressions of interest to design and build the $428 million project.
The international call-out was the first stage in the procurement process for the new complex in the Perth Cultural Centre, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said yesterday.
Architect-construction teams must lodge their proposals by 28 January 2015 and the winning contractor would be chosen by late 2015 after an interactive tender process.
Construction is due to start in 2016, with a projected opening in 2020. Work began this week to refurbish the museum’s Welshpool storage and research facility and the Perth’s site’s heritage buildings are being restored externally to make way for the new facility.
New buildings with about 23,000sqm of functional space, almost four times the size of the current museum, will be knitted into the existing heritage buildings.
“It is very much about getting the heritage buildings up to scratch ready for the proposal,” museum director Alec Coles said.
“To get out into the marketplace now is a very significant step forward,” Mr Coles said. We have been planning this for a long time and it is finally out there.”
The Government has allocated $21 million this financial year for the early stages of the project.
Mr Day said the major infrastructure project would significantly contribute to the transformation of WA as a modern and vibrant State.
“It will be the flagship museum where the stories of our people are shared and the unique environment and biodiversity of WA can be explored,” Mr Day said.
The procurement model, which involves appointing a suitable contractor to manage the design and construction team, would ensure value for money and a well-designed facility, he said.
Innovation, community engagement and long-term financial sustainability are two strong elements in the design and construction brief.
Key elements highlight the quality of the visitor experience, good circulation and large, enlivened galleries and public spaces.
A central outdoor space will link the heritage and new buildings, creating an orientation point and providing space where people can rest, meet and participate in events.
The project also factors in a new home for the museum’s famed blue whale skeleton, now in storage, and other key specimens from its 4.5 million-strong collection.
The content fit-out and installation is planned to start in 2019 and finish in mid-2020, overlapping with the practical construction completion in late 2019.