HASSELL: Brookfield Place in Perth is a new mixed-use precinct that has transformed the city’s central business district, bringing life into an area that was long neglected and void of activity. The vibrant destination now attracts people by the thousands, as home to the world’s largest resources company and some of the Perth’s best restaurants and leisure activities. The centrepiece of the project is a 46-level office tower that has redefined city’s skyline, though its sensitive integration with the surrounding open spaces, and six historical buildings, has ensured that the street level experience is distinctly human. The tower meets the ground in a manner that respects the existing city form, with the extended street and lane pattern creating open sight lines and a rich new layer of urban public space.
The heritage of the site was a major inspiration for the HASSELL design team, who took great care to ‘touch the ground lightly’ in and around the historic buildings. Abstract patterns in the paving, and tactile casts in the street furniture add a narrative layer to the urban landscape that interprets the site’s history. For instance, the text featured in the custom seating references the first edition of the West Australian newspaper, once printed on site.
A key move in the heritage refurbishment involved exposing the basement zones of the buildings (by scraping away the ground immediately to the south) to allow the creation of open-air, lower-street settings that are intimately scaled and sheltered from the elements. Pre-cast bridges and stairs span this lower level, forming connections through the commercial precinct and down into the atmospheric new restaurants and bars.
At the podium level, discrete entry plazas are surrounded by mature trees and feature a combination of integrated and changeable landscape elements – all enhanced at night by specialist lighting. Commenting on the precinct, Perth City Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi said: “From any vantage point, Brookfield Place stands out very loudly and proudly. And I love the fact that it has such bold architecture, and yet, at the ground plane you’ve got this beautiful, intricate, interconnection into the existing heritage fabric along St Georges Terrace.”
The success of the project is based on an interdisciplinary collaboration that brought together architects, workplace designers, landscape architects, urban designers and heritage specialists. The HASSELL design team worked with the client and project partners to create an integrated precinct that builds on the evolution of high-performance commercial architecture, and extends that generosity to the public realm.
Brookfield Place has dramatically changed the way Perth experiences its prime business district. The new precinct acknowledges the city’s heritage, while responding to the needs of a dynamic, contemporary city. It brings Western Australians’ love of outdoor leisure into the city centre for the enjoyment of all – from the start of each working day, well into the night.
Project: Brookfield Place
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Client: Brookfield Multiplex
Scale: 130,000 sqm
Landscape Architecture, Urban Design: HASSELL
Architecture: HASSELL and Fitzpatrick + Partners
Interior Design: HASSELL
Heritage Architecture: Palassis Architects
Photography: Douglas Mark Black / Peter Bennetts