About the Building

Located in the heart of Perth’s Cultural Centre, the New Museum is a dramatic and bold landmark building for Western Australia.

The building was constructed by Multiplex and designed by international design practices Hassell + OMA.

The soaring spaces, stunning details and metallic finishes reflect the vast and sweeping landscapes of Western Australia and share stories about the State’s mineral heritage and the origins of the WA Museum.

The view from the James Street Ampitheatre.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture

Western Australia’s  history is reflected in the fabric of the building.  The distinctive gold glass that runs the length of the circulation loops shares the story of one of the first objects in the Museum collection - a piece of quartz with a gold vein running through it - as well as the gold rush eras that enabled the cultural precinct buildings to be constructed.

The Hassell+OMA design brings together the four heritage-listed buildings on the site and integrates and frames them with stunning new volumes, creating a ‘collection of stories’ within the design.

The beautiful mix of heritage and contemporary architecture interprets  the history of the site and frames the building like artefacts in their own right. The former uses and the restoration and revitalisation of the heritage-listed buildings will be interpreted in the Museum content.

The glass wall at the Beaufort Street stairs will allow people new views never seen before.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture
The spiral staircases around the New Museum were inspired by the staircases in Hacket Hall.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture

The New Museum design has been conceived around the principle of a civic place where local community and global visitors gather, to share their understanding of the past, thoughts of the moment, and ambitions for the future.

Lead designers Mark Loghnan from Hassell and David Gianotten from OMA explain the concept for the design:

“Our vision for the design was to create a space that promotes engagement and collaboration, responding to the needs of the Museum and the community,’ says Hassell Principal Mark Loughnan. “We wanted it to be a civic place for everyone; an interesting mix of heritage and contemporary architecture, that contributes to the revitalisation of Perth’s cultural precinct whilst celebrating the culture of Western Australia on the world stage,” he says. 

OMA Managing Partner – Architect David Gianotten says: “The New Museum is a place to welcome everyone to explore the natural and social heritage of Western Australia. More importantly, it has been deliberately designed as a place for conversations, to inspire new ideas and knowledge of global relevance. It is a museum that both showcases and stimulates discoveries.”

The original piece of ceiling looks down in to Hacket Hall and can be seen through a glass detail.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture

Refurbished heritage buildings and newly built volumes house the Museum exhibitions, event spaces, and public areas. Two intersecting circulation loops—one vertical and one horizontal—connect and organise in multiple ways the museum’s content, which includes a world-renowned meteorite collection and the iconic blue whale skeleton.

The staircase between level two and three.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture

A core element of the design is the ‘City Room’—a sheltered outdoor public space at the centre of the Museum, framed by the refurbished heritage buildings and a large cantilevered volume. The ‘City Room’ is an open space for everyone to stimulate their imagination and creativity, and participate with a variety of activities, from large scale community events to smaller gatherings.

A large new temporary gallery space complements the Museum’s extensive permanent collection and the ‘City Room’. The New Museum will house a diverse range of cultural programs, and new retail and dining opportunities—a Museum that invites regular visits by everyone throughout the year.

Hassell + OMA worked on the New Museum, drawing on both practices’ extensive experience in delivering large-scale cultural projects. With the building complete, the massive job of installing the thousands of objects, multimedia and interactive experiences gets underway. The exhibition fit-out will continue throughout 2020, ready for opening in November 2020. 

The view from Museum Street.
New Museum for WA, photograph Michael Haluwana, Aeroture