When Mecanoo architects asked me to support their team as the conservation-accredited architect for the competition for Perth City Hall, I jumped at the chance.
Our joint approach to repurposing this former city hall into an art gallery won us the project against tough opposition, and we’ve now taken our plans through planning and listed building consent.
Bringing specialist knowledge to the team
The building has been vacant for a number of years, and other proposals (including turning it into a hotel) never took off. Meanwhile, the fabric condition was worsening and dry rot was developing. My role included leading a series of specialist investigation works, including timber condition surveys, historic paint sampling, and detailed condition assessments of the timber panelling and decorative plaster ceilings. Guiding the scope and detail for the fabric repairs has given me plenty to get my teeth into.
Celebrating the heritage of Perth
It’s an ambitious project that will give Perth a building to be proud of once more. We’re retaining and celebrating elements of heritage significance and making the most of its history and its character. And with a new public ‘vennel’ – or alleyway – running through the building as well as a new pavilion space within the main hall to host exhibitions, we’re creating a welcoming, transparent building that encourages everyone to come inside.