The redevelopment of the WA Museum Boola Bardip combines heritage buildings and contemporary architecture to provide a visionary museum experience. Part of the Perth Cultural Center, the new museum was designed by Hassell to become a flagship destination and leverages the latest trends in design, sustainability, technology, accessibility and visitor engagement to create a space unique that delights and inspires.
Opened in 2020, the new museum built by Multiplex is three times the size of the old structure and includes eight permanent galleries, a 1,000 square meter temporary exhibition gallery, a boutique and a café. As part of this project, four buildings were connected by new looped walkways, improving accessibility and traffic flow.
The difficult requirements:
Heritage projects require great consideration and creative solutions to ensure the preservation and enhancement of their original beauty.
Respect for heritage
The original heritage-listed museum buildings added considerable complexity to the redevelopment, from the need to strip lead paint to restrictions on what colors could be used. The coating of these historic buildings was necessary to match the “look” of the paint of the original construction of the buildings. Extra care was needed with the coatings applied to the original sandstone masonry, which would absorb and transfer moisture.
High traffic areas
Since thousands of people roamed the museum spaces every day, it was important to have painted surfaces that could be cleaned at all times.
Lighting and glass impacts
Light installations and reflective glass are used throughout the museum, causing reflections on the walls. This required the specified solutions to reduce glare and reflections.
Finishes for heritage buildings
Porter’s paint was specified to allow moisture transfer from historic sandstone. A modern coat of paint would not have lasted in this environment.
Lead paint stripping
As heritage buildings were initially painted with lead paint, every space inside these buildings had to be stripped rather than repainted. Entire paint systems had to be applied to achieve this and achieve the desired result. The interior and exterior areas were replaced with water-based finishes, which were rigorously tested to ensure they offered adequate protection.
Dulux color experts performed extensive testing on the original coatings, including Dumond testing of every substrate in every building.
Matte finishes to reduce lighting and glass impacts
Due to the harsh fluorescent installation lighting that prevails throughout the museum project, matte finishes were used on the interior walls to help reduce glare and reflections.
Protection of high traffic areas
With heavy daily foot traffic and the associated bumps, scrapes and scuffs, it was essential that interior wall paint could be cleaned consistently. Dark colors have been used throughout to reduce the appearance of marks or dirt that can build up over time. Dulux Wash & Wear was specified to meet these needs and provide a washable and durable surface.
Range of brands used
- Doorman painting
- Primer 24
- HDPE rolls Proofex 3100
Waterproofing at street level
- Nitoproof liquid systems
- HDPE rolls Proofex 3100
Exterior doors, window frames, moldings and wood gutters
- Intergrain UltraClear Exterior Matt (can also be used inside exterior doors and window frames)
Painted wood windows (interior and exterior)
Painted stamped sheet ceiling – galvanized steel (interior)
- Dulux Wash & Wear Matt
- Total preparation Dulux Professional
Bare brick walls – uncoated aged substrate (interior)
- Porter’s lime wash
- Door entry sealer
Photograph by Ian Glen