Mecanoo architecten working with Cushman Wakefield Planning Consultants have received planning and listed building consent for their design to transform the redundant 1908 Perth City Hall. The building has been transformed by creating a new entry ‘vennel’ that cuts through the building giving access to the new museum, gallery and café spaces. The new entries are announced with bold bronze arched doorways while the new paving to the square is lifted to create an inclusive and barrier free route to and through the building.
The public realm has been transformed with new planting, lighting, and stone paving to the surrounding square and vennels. The building has been empty for ten years while its future was debated. Its reopening will create a new cultural attraction in the heart of Perth for locals and visitors and be a focus for local regeneration.
Internally the museum space is organised into a route that explores and links the original galleries and auditorium of the hall. The exhibition designer Metaphor has linked themed areas that tell the story of Perth and Kinross using their collection of artefacts. These range from ancient Pictish stones to records and photographs of the mill and distillery workers of Perth. Several galleries have been left open for touring exhibitions that will now have a display space in Perth.
The focal point of the building is the new timber panelled pavilion in the heart of the hall, this can house delicate and valuable artefacts including, it is hoped, the Stone of Destiny currently housed in Edinburgh Castle. The building has been brought back to life with new spaces and details that encourage visitors to explore the building and its contents. Windows have been re-purposed as display vitrines and the original balcony will be extended with new bronze and oak cabinets.
The fabric, environmental systems, and security of the building are to be upgraded to create the right conditions for the City collection which has been carefully preserved for over a century. The stone and joinery work of the building will be restored and complemented with new insertions such as tall glass doors to improve access and visibility for the building. Enabling works have started on site for an opening in two years’ time.