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Perth City Hall design concepts go on show

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June 12 2017

Perth City Hall design concepts go on show
Perth & Kinross Council are exhibiting five shortlisted designs for the redevelopment of Perth City Hall, enabling the public to have their say on initial concept designs.

Austin-Smith:Lord with MVRDV, Hoskins, LDN, Mecanoo and Richard Murphy are all bidding for the cultural attraction, which is set to become a centerpiece of the its 2021 UK City of Culture bid.

When complete the revitalized hall will house interactive displays, learning facilities and a meeting space in the centre of town.

Austin-Smith:Lord with MVRDV’s approach will see a dramatic staircase installed to allow those up for the climb to ascend all the way to a dramatic new rooftop garden from St John’s Square. Hoskins meanwhile propose to improve access with a new raised plinth with existing entrances opened up and circulation rationalized, culminating in a new temporary exhibition space in the roof.

For their part LDN plan to install a series of exhibition plinths along the Hall’s south side, outlining the edge of a raised plinth reserved for cafes. A ‘21st century entrance’ will also be formed facing St John’s Kirk taking the form of a full-height glazed wall.
Mecanoo have opted for a more understated approach with retention of the existing roofscape, although existing solid doors will be replaced with glazed alternatives.

Last but not least Richard Murphy Architects aim to remove the central portion of the north elevation in its entirety, save for the cornice and parapet which will rest on a new steel beam, in order to insert a new glass wall. The ground floor would also be lowered to sit flush with surrounding streets.

All five designs will be on display until 24 June at Perth Civic Hall from 10:00 until 19:00 on weekdays and 16:00 on weekends.
A Richard Murphy win would see the north elevation dominated by a glass wall
A Richard Murphy win would see the north elevation dominated by a glass wall
Hoskins will combat level changes via a new raised plinth
Hoskins will combat level changes via a new raised plinth

LDN plan to install a series of exhibition plinths along the Hall’s south side
LDN plan to install a series of exhibition plinths along the Hall’s south side
Mecanoo propose to make only 'light touch# interventions to the B-listed fabric
Mecanoo propose to make only 'light touch# interventions to the B-listed fabric

8 Comments

willothewisp
#1 Posted by willothewisp on 12 Jun 2017 at 16:59 PM
Some interesting ideas but is the funding in place for these proposals to move from computer to reality?
Philip
#2 Posted by Philip on 12 Jun 2017 at 17:06 PM
RM's glazed wall is such a simple but highly effective move, illuminating and activating the whole street...nice.
willothewisp
#3 Posted by willothewisp on 12 Jun 2017 at 17:52 PM
#2 - Would be better without the solid kicker at the bottom of the glazed wall.....the idea of a single level from outside to inside is interesting if it can be achieved. Letting people see inside the building will work well in attracting potential visitors to enter. As noted the current building is a bit forbiddding.
Sven
#4 Posted by Sven on 12 Jun 2017 at 22:03 PM
I thought this was about to be demolished by the council for being unwanted? I love the first image, odd that opening it up with glass makes such a difference as it is quite a lump of a building. Shows that an old building can be updated whilst keeping its character.
Sirom
#5 Posted by Sirom on 13 Jun 2017 at 00:34 AM
Richard Murphy's design opens up this building, linking with the cafe culture / social scene beyond. So much more inclusive and welcoming looking. Breaks down the cold barriers and light draws you in. Dundee's Perth Rd was transformed by Murphy's cool DCA building design with its fantastic cinema, galleries, shop and cafe bar. Could the same buzz now be delivered for the heart of Perth?
rob
#6 Posted by rob on 13 Jun 2017 at 13:13 PM
Interesting point about funding #1
More importantly I wonder who is providing the funding for the operational and maintenance costs of this.
I suspect the operation will never recover its costs. How does that sit with Sustainability ?
or does the magic money tree just cover it.
hum
#7 Posted by hum on 13 Jun 2017 at 14:04 PM
Taking out an entire wall then glazing it without providing any apparent permeability seems perverse. Not convinced. For me it is between #3 and #5.
Beetlejuice
#8 Posted by Beetlejuice on 13 Jun 2017 at 17:19 PM
There is real potential here and more than one proposal that could be in with a legitimate shot.
What I've taken away from the proposals are the following;
It is surprising that at least 4 of the proposals have adopted glass extensions to the roofs and at least 3 have shown a slot or 'internal street' through the building. Are these the best outcomes from the brief without collusion etc?
In addition to the glass roofs, how come Mecanoo is the only entrant that has found it unnecessary to add such an extension? Have they been able to allocate all of the brief requirements into the existing form of the building? Or vice versa, have the other schemes failed to match the brief in terms of spaces and overpopulated?
With ASL's proposals, what is the reason for the staircase and 'red garden shed' aligned at an angle? (I know that during my professional studies some time ago, if I had designed such a feature that contrasts with its surroundings and I had not provided a valid reason for this, I would have been slated for it) Also, why do you not see the 'red garden shed' in the visuals?

Overall,
Mecanoo is the most sensitive to the existing building.
Opening up some of the external walls with glazed elements could work - RM and LDN might find a good balance with regarding to dynamism and sensitivity.
ASL's proposals seem excessive, outkeeping with its context and could be the most expensive proposal.
Hoskins, although offering some good thought provoking design elements, I don't believe should win this, given that they already have a controlling interest in the Museum renovation. The same could be said for RM as they're involved in the Theatre extension.
To get the best and fair balance in this competition I think it rests with LDN or Mecanoo

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