29 May 23

Woods Bagot appointed to deliver world-class biosecurity and research facility in Perth

Global architecture practice Woods Bagot has been announced as the leading consultant on the Western Australian government’s new agricultural headquarters.

Woods Bagot’s Perth studio has been engaged by the Western Australian state government as lead design consultant of the New Metropolitan Facility (NMF) for the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development (DPIRD). The studio’s scope of work will include urban design, architecture and interior design.

In December 2022, Premier Mark McGowan announced $320 million in funding for a new world-class biosecurity and research facility that will strengthen DPIRD’s diagnostic capacity and enable innovative research in the service of WA’s natural resources, agriculture, and land assets.

The Department of Finance launched an open tender for the two-stage design delivery, from which Woods Bagot was selected from a highly competitive field across the country.

Woods Bagot principal and Perth studio chair Kukame McPierzie said the studio was selected for its recognised expertise across multiple sectors and proven ability to deliver projects with complex, technical user requirements.

“We were selected for our multidisciplinary approach – our ability to work across sectors including science, research, workplace interiors and urban design – along with our capacity to translate complex user requirements into high quality design outcome, plus our knowledge of the local Perth context,” said McPierzie.

The facility will be built on Murdoch University’s Perth campus featuring new, modern laboratories and technical workspaces for around 350 staff. Intended to deliver critical biosecurity safeguards and primary industries research to help protect and promote the state’s agriculture sector, Premier McGowan called it a “once-in-a-generation investment” that will bring about lasting benefits for the state.

“The appointment to this significant project is exciting for our studio, in an area that we are well positioned to make a meaningful contribution,” adds McPierzie.

The site, situated in the south-eastern corner of the campus, is co-located at Murdoch University, offering broader benefits to the precinct in terms of its connection to allied industries in health and medical research.

“The Murdoch location provides an opportunity for DPIRD to build on the existing research relationships with industry partners including the university,” says McPierzie. Woods Bagot is also designing the Harry Butler Science Centre on the Murdoch University campus.

The 11.5-hectare DPIRD site will also house an incident and emergency management operational centre; a glasshouse complex; and field plots for onsite research. It will supersede the laboratory facilities on Baron-Hay Court in South Perth, many of which date back to the 1950s.

“This will be the premier facility for biosecurity, research and development in Western Australia relating to the agricultural industry,” said McPierzie. It will also help bolster the state’s agricultural sector in the face of the challenges posed by climate change and an expanding population.

“It’s a highly technical, highly functional building with complex performance requirements. Our approach is to synthesise this complexity into a cohesive design language, creating a facility that allows the DPIRD team and co-tenants AEGIC and InterGrain to perform their leading research in a high-quality environment. We will look to embrace connections to landscape, open air and sustainability throughout our design.”

The project is slated for completion in 2027.


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Isla Sutherland
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