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Hassell + OMA, Museum, Boola Bardip, Perth

Cultural Air Sovereignty: Museum Boola Bardip in Perth by Hassell and OMA

In this year’s coronavirus winter, we are no longer used to seeing photos of maskless people flocking in their droves into a museum. But as Australia has more or less been Covid-19-free since October, such scenes were commonplace last autumn, when Museum Boola Bardip re-opened its doors after four years of refurbishment and enlargement by Hassell + OMA. The complex of buildings in Perth’s cultural district is the main site of the Western Australian Museum, home to the state’s art and natural history collections. Perth’s former gaol, where the Geological Museum opened its doors in 1891, stands at the site today as the nucleus of the institutions that make up the ensemble. Further wings added between 1899 and 1913 for the ethnological collections, the art collections and a state library reading room have since become heritage-listed.

The museum has now gained again considerably in size following rebuilding and additions to the tune of about 400 million Australian dollars (the equivalent of approx. 260 million euros). Commissioned to do the planning by full-service general contractor Multiplex, Hassell + OMA complemented the previously L-shaped museum complex with several supplementary structures, resulting in a closed loop – or actually two; on the first floor visitors are now able to circle the interior courtyard on a horizontal plane, or alternatively they can take a similar but vertically accessed route around via the two pole-supported cubes that form a daring structure above the entrance court and an old building repurposed for museum education. Nor does the translucent façade design incorporating glass and perforated metal diminish the additions’ top-heavy appearance – as so often in OMA’s oeuvre, the classic principles of tectonic architecture have been turned on their head at Museum Boola Bardip. The linchpin of all pathways through the complex consists of the plaza, partially covered by the new structures and dubbed City Room by the architects for all kinds of public events in future.

Weitere Informationen:

Bauunternehmen: Multiplex
TGA-Planung: Wood & Grieve
Fassadenplanung: Hera

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