Perth Cultural Centre

Design Feature
Type of Project
Placemaking
State
Western Australia
Location
Urban

A revitalised Perth Cultural Centre has contributed to a strong sense of place with dramatic increases in physical activity in the area. The regeneration of the Perth Cultural Centre is an example of how a commitment to developing an inviting, safe and innovative environment can result in positive outcomes for a local and regional community.

An activated central hub 

The Perth Cultural Centre is located north of the Perth Central Business District, linking the District to the Northbridge entertainment area. It is within walking distance of the Perth Train Station and Wellington Street Bus Station, which links the Cultural Centre to the greater metropolitan area via public transport.

The Perth Cultural Centre revitalisation has activated the space and encouraged community use
The Perth Cultural Centre revitalisation has activated the space and encouraged community use

The Perth Cultural Centre is home to a number of Perth’s cultural institutions: Western Australian Museum, Alexander Library, State Records, Old Perth Gaol, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). With recent regeneration efforts, the Perth Cultural Centre has begun to function as a hub of diverse activity.

Prior to redevelopment, the Perth Cultural Centre was in a period of decline and perceived by many to be an unsafe area; a place to avoid in the evening.

A native wetland generate a sense of place in the area
A native wetland generate a sense of place in the area

The East Perth Redevelopment Authority, now the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, was tasked with the regeneration of the area. A number of place making and urban design initiatives resulted in positive health and wellbeing impacts.

The initiatives included:

  • Urban Orchard – Establishing fresh organically grown food in a previously under-utilised space on top of a multi-storey car park has increased the vibrancy of the Perth Cultural Centre.  Now a landscaped green space, the Urban Orchard is a healthy built food environment that promotes the importance of fresh and healthy food.
  • Program of events – The Cultural Centre is the hub of cultural activity with the Perth International Arts Festival and Fringe Festival establishing open performance spaces and bars in the area during the festivals. There is a regular program of additional cultural events scheduled throughout the year, encouraging activity in the space.
  • Wetland – Revitalisation of the area has included removing a chlorinated concrete water feature and establishing a wetland that supports a variety of wildlife native to the area. It has softened the urban environment and encourages increased visitor numbers.
  • Heritage preservation – The refurbishment of heritage buildings, complemented with planning and leasing controls, has resulted in the regeneration of William Street, encouraging more people to visit the area and expanding the influence of the Perth Cultural Centre. 
  • State Theatre Centre – Completed in 2012 and located on the corner of Roe and William Streets in Northbridge, the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia features a 575 seat Heath Ledger Theatre and the flexible performance space. Also included in the Centre are The Courtyard, a multi-purpose outdoor event space, two rehearsal rooms and two flexible use private suites.

Project Team 

  • Department of Culture and the Arts
  • LotteryWest
  • Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority
  • State Government

Project Cost

The short-term program budget to revitalise the Perth Cultural Centre was $11 million. In total over $35 million has been spent by the State government, through the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Culture and the Arts.

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