Rem Koolhaas wins AU$428m Western Australia Museum project
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Rem Koolhaas wins AU$428m Western Australia Museum project

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The development of the new Western Australian Museum building in Perth has reached a significant milestone, with a design team led by international architects OMA now in negotiations to oversee the project.

Multi-disciplinary practice Hassell and British constructors Brookfield Multiplex have joined Rem Koolhaas’ studio to design and build the museum, which will house the state’s scientific and cultural collections.

The design team overcame competition from firms including Foster + Partners and Ateliers Jean Nouvel to win the commission for the AU$428m (US$323m, €283m, £229m) project.

John Day, culture and arts minister for Western Australia, said the state government had been impressed by the responses received from the three “world-class” shortlisted design teams and said the substantial international response to the architecture competition “highlights the project's prestige.”

Explaining the final decision, he said: "Brookfield Multiplex has extensive experience in delivering major projects, while OMA and its principal, Rem Koolhaas, are well-known for creating dramatic architecture. Hassell have also developed a considerable international reputation.

"OMA has a vast portfolio of international projects including the expansion of Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, the Seattle Public Library and the China Central Television Building in Beijing.”

The government will now attempt to reach a final agreement on the design, construction and programming of the project. The successful design will be released once the contract has been awarded, which is expected in mid-2016. The opening of the museum is scheduled for 2020.

The Jean Nouvel consortium, which is led by Perth-based building firm Doric, have been named as the reserve option if negotiations fall through.

The new WA Museum will be formed of a 23,000sq m (247,569sq ft) extension to its current home – quadrupling its size.

A definition plan for the project demands the design of new buildings include large, enlivened galleries and public spaces and a central outdoor space linking the heritage and new structures. Core exhibition galleries will be supplemented by a temporary and touring exhibition gallery, café, plus retail and special function areas.

The deadline for expressions of interest from exhibition design teams closed yesterday (6 April).

WA Museum CEO Alec Coles said: “Our new museum must provide world class visitor experiences that will feature exceptional objects and stories, augmented with, film, multimedia, and emerging technologies, as well as live interpretation and performance.”

Artist teams have also been asked to register their interest in creating the public art for the museum. The state government has provided AU$1.6m in funding for the art works, which will reflect and interpret the stories of Western Australia.

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The development of the new Western Australian Museum building in Perth has reached a significant milestone, with a design team led by international architects OMA now in negotiations to oversee the project.
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