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Berndt Museum on Carpark 3 University of West Australia

School of Design staff ideas competition University of Western Australia, 2017


We acknowledge that the new Berndt museum is proposed on Wadjuk Boodja near the Derbarl Yerrigan, and respect the significance of the river Noongar People. We pay our respect to Traditional Owners of this land, their ancestors and Elders past and present, on whose lands we live, work and travel.

The Berndt Museum Design Ideas Competition marks a search for a museum that offers a new experience in the Western Australian context.

The Berndt Museum of Anthropology at UWA holds one of Australia’s finest and most important collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural material and knowledge. It is also a major UWA asset contributing to the University’s mission to advance, transmit and sustain knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their culture, and their place in the world.

Competition entrants were invited to prepare proposals for one or both of two campus sites. Both sites address the culturally significant Derbarl Yerrigan.
The sites offer choice of ‘urban’ or ‘park’ experiences and together align with the emerging ‘town’ and ‘park’ themes for UWA settings.

Demonstrating clear links between country and community, between collections and visitors, our strategy to elongate the New Berndt Museum along the southern edge of carpark 3 emphasises the existing urban and riverine qualities of the site. Geometries were derived from the extension of sight lines that cross the carpark site and campus. These axes are carried into the detailing of the soffit and
the undulating ground plane. Conceived as digital projection surfaces, the ground plane augments the archival content of the museum into the public realm, connecting to the new landscaped foreshore which is an extension for
public art. The adaptive temporary exhibition on both the first and second floor is intended to be used as a market place to promote entrepreneurial activity for Indigenous artists. These spaces are also connected by a walkway that runs from Reid Library, providing a public thoroughfare. The top level of the ‘Head’ volume holds the restricted access section which orients itself directly to the river.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Perth, AU
Additional Credits: Jason Macarlino School of Design Staff / M.Arch(dist)
Felix Joensson School of Design Staff / M.Arch(dist)
Judd Harris Director, Indigenous Management Group