Multiplex has completed the WA State Government’s new WA Museum Boola Bardip, restoring the Heritage buildings and delivering a new cultural landmark for Perth.
Designed by Hassell and OMA, the redevelopment combines the existing Heritage Museum buildings with an innovative new build, connecting all five Heritage buildings for the first time in the Museum’s history.
The Heritage buildings on the site include the Jubilee, Beaufort, Hackett Hall and Geologists’ buildings, with the oldest building, the Old Gaol, dating back to the mid-1800s. The new Museum is more than three times the size of its predecessor and includes eight new galleries, a 1000-square metre special exhibitions gallery, multipurpose learning studios, new food and beverage offerings, and unique spaces for meetings and special events.
The Museum’s interior features two primary circulation loops – one horizontal and one vertical – that bring together the refurbished historic buildings and new
structures, while offering visitors multiple and accessible routes to explore the incredible collections and stories from around Western Australia.
"After delivering the project on time for the WA State Government, it’s a proud moment for the team to see the new WA Museum Boola Bardip open to the public," says Multiplex regional managing director Chris Palandri.
"The Museum was an incredibly complex project to construct. The engineering of the new building is challenging enough on its own, coupled with the complexities
involved in protecting and preserving the heritage of the site. The end result has delivered something completely unique for the WA community to enjoy," Palandri says.
Multiplex delivered the project over two stages with the first commencing in July 2016 and including detailed design and early site works. Stage two commenced in
January 2018 and involved the main construction works. The contractor was also awarded the main content fitout works for the exhibitions, which commenced in late 2019 and was completed on time for the opening on 21 November 2020.
According to Multiplex, approximately 3300 people worked on the project and the build includes approximately 1600 tonnes of structural steel, more than 12,000 cubic metres of concrete and more than 1000 façade panels.
Wireless load controlling system, Roborigger, was pioneered on-site, eliminating the need for workers to be in close proximity to the load during the lifting and lowering phases. The project engaged the wireless crane technology to help minimise workers’ exposure to high-risk activities by being able to remotely hold a crane load steady in any given direction, without the use of a tagline.
Developed by Tensa Equipment, the technology is the first of its kind to be used on a commercial construction site and significantly improves worksite safety by allowing riggers and dogmen to control loads wirelessly from a safe distance. A completely local Western Australian innovation, it uses inertial forces to accurately rotate and orient crane loads. Tensa managing director Derick Markwell says the technology was originally developed to address the challenging task of installing wind turbine blades when wind speed is greater than the current limit of 12 knots.
Roborigger features an in-built camera and load cell. Using IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity, it incorporates a slimline tracking system so every piece of data on a lift, including an image of the load, weight, location, time and date, and the unit status, can be viewed online in real time. "The data captured from load lifts is as valuable as the hardware itself," says Markwell, "so we are now looking at leveraging this."
Technology also featured heavily in the Museum fitout, with the content works managed by Multiplex employing local and national creatives to deliver interactive
exhibits. This was particularly important to those contractors during the downturn in opportunities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Challenges faced throughout construction included the delivery of an ambitious engineering design featuring an innovative structural steel roof. Working within a protected Heritage site also increased the complexity of the project, including the contractor’s careful construction of a 17-metre structural steel cantilever above the Heritage Hackett Hall.
"Multiplex and the architectural team of Hassell and OMA have produced a significant new building that embraces the Heritage buildings within, while creating spectacular new experiences. It is a Museum of which I hope all Western Australians will be proud," says Alec Coles, Western Australian Museum CEO.
Sustainability drove the construction process with more than 90 percent of construction waste recycled and diverted from landfill. Key ESD (environmentally sustainable development) features of the new Museum include a Central Energy Plant, enabling all buildings within the Perth Cultural Centre precinct to be more energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) efficient. The Central Energy Plant is designed to rationalise and reduce consumption of electricity and gas within the buildings.