Sunday 17 November 2013


The last post about the Open House Perth is about two totally different types of gardens - The Gardens at Bishops See and Perth City Farm.

Almost across the road from the QV1 building in St George's Terrace you can reach Bishop's Gardens from a side road next to an office tower.
The formal gardens surround a Victorian two storey house built in 1859 for Bishop Hale, the first Anglican Bishop of Western Australia. 
The land known as Bishop's See, (originally 5 allotments) was bought with the Bishop's own money, and is located between St. George's Terrace and Mounts Bay Road at the west end of Perth's CBD.
Great care went into the planning of the gardens, with the planting of ornamental trees in the front garden and a fruit garden at the back of the house.
Later a small cottage was built as the Bishop's office and to house visiting clergymen.
In 1875 Bishop Hale took up a post as Bishop of Brisbane, and handed his properties to the Perth Diocesan Trust. Over the years other Bishops took over the occupancy of the house until 1959.
In 1999, this heritage listed property was sold, and subsequently two office towers were built next to Bishop's House (a nine storey and a twenty seven storey building).
In 2010, the Victorian house was converted into an upmarket restaurant - Lamont's Bishop's House.

The gardens are still well cared for and are another green oasis in the city of Perth, and the house and gardens are one of Perth's oldest icons.

The formal garden

Bishop's House - Now Lamont's Restaurant
One of the office towers that was built next to the Gardens
A huge mirror next to the wall that divides the restaurant garden from the upper formal
The back of the house faces Mounts Bay Road
The gardens on the Mounts Bay Road side have a modern sculpture

Perth City Farm was founded in 1994, located on eastern edge of the Perth Central Business District, next to Claisebrook train station, in the site of a former scrap yard and battery recycling centre. 
The site was heavily polluted but was rehabilitated and is now organic certified. It is now a model for environmental sustainability and community engagement, allowing people to come and relax and connect to the land.
There is a mushroom farm, composting facilities, nursery, chicken coops, a Cafe where people meet and talk. They also have a venue they hire for weddings or other functions.
On weekends a farmer's market is held to sell the produce from the farm.
The can be reached via the Yellow cat bus or by taking the train to Claisebrook station, just 2 stations out of the city on the Armadale train line.

Chickens produce eggs and eat produce leftovers

A sculpture and pond at the entrance

Lots of Kale and other leafy green were growing here

Hope you enjoyed the Open House tours to the various places I showed you.
These were my last visits of the day and I hope to be able to visit different places next year. I too got to know a bit more about Perth and it's architecture and special buildings.
Hope you had a nice weekend, it was a hot weekend in Perth, cooling down slightly during the next week.

Wednesday 13 November 2013


Another iconic building on St George's Terrace (152-158) is Central Park.
In the 1930's the site was home to Foy & Gibson department store. Later the store was bought by another department store David Jones, who moved out of W.A by the end of 1970's. The site was then bought by a joint venture called Central Park Developments. In 1986 the site was valued at $20 million.
It is the tallest building in Perth with 249mt above ground to the top of the communications antenna, and is also the 9th tallest building in Australia.
Central Park Building (photo from net)
It was originally planned as a 45 storey building, but after a few modifications and concessions made by Perth City Council, to exceed building ratio, it was finally approved as a 51 office tower.
Construction began in 1982 and culminated in 1992 with the installation of the communications mast tower and cost $186.5 million. The tower has 64,000m2 of office and 3,000m2 of retail space, 1,025 parking bays for tenants with coded cards and 400 for the public.
The building is clad in aluminium and 5000 sheets of glass, which get cleaned twice a year taking up to 3 months due to high winds.
It's a very technologically advanced building with fully computerized air-conditioning, which uses data from sensors on each floor to regulate temperature, there is a central mail facility, conference centre for tenants and a fitness centre exclusive to tenants. The lifts have screens showing the outside temperature and share prices on the Australian stock market.
The outdoor area with 5000m2
The outdoor space from which the tower takes its name, is an area of 5,000m2 landscaped park with fronts to William street and Hay street.  It contains seating areas, a fountain and grassed areas. The park area is carried though into the lobby under a glass canopy structure, becoming more formal as it approaches the main entry.

The glass canopy lobby
The building hosts an annual stair climbing race up 53 flights from the garages to the roof, which started in 2001, raising money for Multiple sclerosis. Usually only on these charity days is the public allowed to go up to the top floors for the views.

During the Open House Perth, I was lucky to be able to climb up with a guide to the 51st floor, which was being remodeled and be able to enjoy the amazing views from the top.

Perth Arena (with some blue) and the highways to the northern suburbs
The Bell Tower and Barrack street Jetty from where ferries depart to South Perth and Rottnest Island and the sandy area is part of the new development - Elizabeth Quay
The Swan River with South Perth across the river
The suburb of South Perth across the river

The white buildings to the right are the  Crown Casino and hotel and at left you can just make out the Airport tower and grounds
Rottnest Island at the far end with Kings Park botanic gardens just behind the tall buildings at the front
Rottnest Island

If next year this building is open I will certainly go back for more views. Hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Perth's iconic buildings.
Central Park Building (on left) in the Perth skyline at sunset (photo from net)

Sunday 10 November 2013


Next on the Open House Perth tour is the iconic QV1  building.
QV1 actually stands for "Quo Vadis" which means "Where are you going" and the number 1 is the answer - at the top and leading the way - and not Queen Victoria 1st, as is generally assumed, just like I did!

This is true of a building that is a landmark in building technology in Australia, prompting it's designer to describe the QV1 as "the best building he had ever built".
The building on 250 St George's Terrace, was designed by Australia's most awarded architect - Harry Sidler
Completed in 1991, the granite and glass tower is 159mt high, the 4th tallest tower in Perth, with 43 floors, 38 occupied by offices, 2 plant rooms, basement and sub-basement with parking space and a rooftop floor. There are two levels of retail shops, and landscaped areas occupying 25% of the space, which include a waterfall and pond, where the office workers can relax. It has 18 passenger lifts, 1 goods lift, 1 retail lift, 2 car park lifts and 2 escalators.

Its modern design of angles and curves has a lot of futuristic technology - a reinforced concrete core spanning 21,5mt on each side and columns on the perimeter of the building allow for open space floors with 1650 sqm each without being broken by any internal columns. The sun shading system on south windows saves on estimated cooling costs of $70,000 per year. Each floor has it's own air-conditioning so there is no waste of energy to cool or heat empty floors, there are landscaped balcony gardens on the south side and the top two floor have luxury penthouse offices with landscaped terraces. There are movable "walls" that run on tracks in each floor that enable the making of bigger or smaller venues.
A fully equipped gym, tennis courts, showers, bicycle lock up facilities and 360 degree views add to the well-being of it's tenants.
The imposing entry lobby is 14mt high with marble floors and travertine clad walls.

The famous glass skirt shields the entry lobby from the sun
The marble Lobby
Looking towards the garden area
Large open spaces without supporting columns
The lift corridor with natural light at each end
The super quick lifts took us to the 37th floor where you can see an example of a curved stair case that softens the hard angles of the building.

On the 37th floor
A meeting room at the top
A lovely terrace on the 37th floor 
The grey tower of BHP building, the second highest in Perth

View over the Esplanade busport and train station and River swan
View over Kings Park and suburb of East Perth

Swan River and Narrows bridge into the suburb of South Perth
Parliament House can just be seen on the right corner

The flaps that shield the building's windows from the sun on South side

This photo taken in 2006 when family visited (Mom and nephews here) shows the cascade and pond
The north side of the building
Next post will be about the tallest building in Perth - Perth Central. Hope you enjoyed getting to know QV1, an amazing piece of architecture and modern commodities.

Saturday 9 November 2013

OPEN HOUSE PERTH - 2 - Spacecubed and Parliament House

After my visit to Council House, as part of the "Open House Tour" on Sunday 3rd, just down the road at 45 St George's Terrace, I entered a large old building that had an "open house" flag outside.

Having previously housed the Reserve Bank, and still containing the huge vault, "Spacecubed", is now a 550 square meter innovative space and brainstorming room.

A big board on the wall showed Tweets around Perth

Spacecubed is an interesting concept that allows people to pay a monthly fee, and as per their needs make use of a "hot desk" (meaning it can be used by various people at different times), or a permanent desk and access to meeting and seminar rooms right in the city centre. 
It is a space where entrepreneurs can collaborate, co-work, network, mentor and brainstorm under one roof, and members can encourage each other with ideas and support for projects, designs or businesses.
The lounge and a kitchen at communal kitchen at the end
The desks at the far end are made with pallets

You might notice that some of the desks are made with pallets, wire, etc and my favourite were the little pallet cabins used to relax, just like a little cocoon.

The cheapest membership costs $22,50 a month which includes 8 hours of co-working, meetups, online community, use of kitchen, wifi, discount on meeting rooms and mentor program. A very, very interesting concept indeed!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next on my list was a visit to Parliament House in Harvest Terrace. I just walked a few blocks, but if you are in the city you can take the Red cat (free bus) at get off at Stop 21 - Parliament/Hay st.

There was a short queue, as a maximum number of people were taken in at a time for the guided visit.
Construction of this building began in 1902 and finished in 1904, using local materials - stone from Rottnest island and Donnybrook, Jarrah for the woodwork and clay tiles.
Extensions to the building were made in 1958, 1978 and 2002, making the building a square shape with a courtyard in the middle. There is a big collection of art painted by local artists with WA scenes.

The sunny courtyard

Parliament House is home to the Legislative council (Upper house) and Legislative Assembly (Lower House) of the Western Australian Parliament.
Both chambers have a public and Media gallery to attend certain meetings.

The Blue Legislative Assembly with gold sceptre
The Red Legislative Council chambers

The ceilings are ornate and before air-conditioning was installed, from those ceiling roses hung fans to cool the rooms.
Members of Parliament can have meals at a subsidized rate in this lovely dining room. Guests are allowed by invitation from a member. There is also a Bar, but for members only. It's good to know that all produce used in their meals comes from W.A., and all wines are chosen from the Margaret River wine area (just 260km from Perth).

A grand library is also available to members with all sorts of books and where typists transcribe what is written in the parliament sessions into documents that are made into big books. The librarians also do research for the members when they need extra information for their discussions.

There is also a meeting room for Aboriginal members of Parliament with Aboriginal Art hung on the walls and the windows and doors are framed with specially designed glass.

The Aboriginal meeting room

The glass windows with Aboriginal motives

A few more venues with wonderful sights will be written about in my next posts.
Hope you are enjoying the tour.
Have a wonderful weekend.