_SUNSET HERITAGE PRECINCT
© Robert Frith
For the first time in over 110 years, the security fences have been removed from the Sunset Heritage Precinct in Perth, Western Australia, and is open to the public. Once known as Sunset Hospital, the precinct is located atop a beautiful scarp overlooking the Swan River and is full of stories and character for local residents.
With the dilapidated former hospital lain derelict for years, the Western Australian Government commissioned Hassell to bring the site back to life as an arts and culture precinct. The first stage of the project was to reopen the grounds to create a new park, drawing the community back to this beautiful place.
Three core design principles underpin the project.
Community: Creating a new park for the local community
- opening views to the river
- reinforcing the site’s quiet and reflective character
- new access points from all corners of the site
- creating pedestrian pathways with the removal of internal ‘roads’
- establishing new connection points to the river
- provision of amenities including BBQs, pavilion, seating, play, lighting, bike racks, drinking fountains and picnic tables
Heritage: Celebrating the site’s rich architectural and people-focused heritage
- revealing the architecture – removing clunky built form ‘add ons’
- creating space by opening views and vistas within and beyond the site
- showcasing the people who were treated or worked on site by telling their stories through interpretive design
- reinventing key architectural structures on site, like the Chapel Pavilion
Environment: Allowing the trees, elevated scarp location and views to the Swan River to shine
- remove dead or dying trees and overgrown vegetation
- reveal key views to the river from strategic locations
- planting natives that thrive off little water
- showcase Western Australia’s wildflowers
The existing chapel has been transformed into a modern pavilion and event space while retaining key features such as the tower, pillars and stained glass windows. A new lawn replaces the weed infested, asphalt storage yard, giving plenty of space for kids to kick a ball and the public to come together. The pavilion also accommodates performances through a flexible stage space.
The new nature play space in the precinct was designed for families. Reclaimed timber from demolished buildings and fallen trees are turned into interactive place spaces for children. A landmark gum tree hosts a large deck for play, views and shade.
The landscape design of Sunset Heritage Precinct focused on creating a new space for the community and their families. Local residents and Perth visitors can now enjoy a place that is serene and intriguing, both quiet and charming.
Over time the Western Australian Government will further activate the precinct through the refurbishment and leasing of the ward and administration buildings. The creation of the park has created a sound platform for the precinct to thrive into the future.