Yagan Square

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  • 2019

  • Architectural
    Urban

Designed By:

  • Lyons+IPH+Aspect Studios
  • WhadjukWorkingGroup+South-West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council
  • Ramus+Material Thinking+Malcolm McGregor+Richard Walley+Maddison Architects
  • Jonathan Tarry+Sharyn Egan+Paul Carter+Helen Smith
  • Tjyllyungoo-Lance Chadd+Jeremy Kirwin Ward+Waterforms

Commissioned By:

Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, WA

DORIC Group

Designed In:

Australia

Yagan Square is a project of state significance for Perth, Western Australia. Located at the east end of the new MRA Citylink development, it physically reconnects Northbridge with the CBD. The Square embodies a new urban typology, fusing culture, history, art, food, architecture and landscape.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • • Creation of a unique and in-depth collaboration process between the client (MRA) the traditional owners (Whadjuk Working Group) and the design team; • Development of a new civic square encompassing multiple built forms public space programs within a small 1.1-hectare site above two railway tunnels, and between a horseshoe shaped historic bridge; • Emergence of a new typology of civic and public space. One that privileges art, people and the everyday experience; • Repairing of the community’s connection to site through a clear cultural positioning of Yagan Square. Representative of ideas of convergence: geologies, ecologies, tracks and narratives of indigenous and non‐indigenous people.

  • A new terrain is built between the CBD and Northbridge, with the railway lines now underneath. A “track” of universal access connects the street level with the upper terraces and heritage bridge, forming a meeting space, gardens and play spaces that sit above the market hall and restaurants below. The terrain stitches together the State’s public institutions with the commercial life of the city. An innovative process of collaboration to create an authentic cultural experience was developed with the Whadjuk community, inspiring strong themes and stories of place, people, animals and landscape, influencing many of the elements within Yagan Square.

  • A place of recognition for the Whadjuk story has been formed. Creating a meeting place for people from all walks of life, firmly adopted by locals and visitors. Specially grown trees and native wildflower gardens are bringing nature back. Seven artists collaborated, including two indigenous artists, to craft water features, digital art canopies, sculpture and integrated art works. The Market Hall and restaurants have brought local and wider West Australian produce to the city. The food offering is both affordable and upmarket. The Square has finally connected the city to Northbridge and created a strong cultural heart for Perth.

  • Yagan Square addresses a deeply complex set of urban design issues. These included pre-existing infrastructure, commercial viability into the future, and opportunities to open up new corridors between the city centre and northern precincts. Underlying these issues was the steadfast desire by the MRA to meaningfully address indigenous reconciliation. Yagan Square is a convergence of geologies, tracks, narratives and cultures. Named for Whadjuk warrior, Yagan. The project has established an inclusive and welcoming destination with a focus on reconciliation, culture and celebration. Importantly, this land once formed part of an extensive wetland system which was a significant meeting and food gathering space for Aboriginal people. Everything at Yagan Square has been designed with intent; from the custom grown eucalyptus trees and wildflower gardens, to interpretations of former indigenous tracks through the site, shade canopies symbolising the area’s once-present lakes and the spired digital tower representing the 14 Noongar language groups. Offering a range of experiences, from green spaces to market halls, eateries, immersive public art and digital media, Yagan Square is intended as an ever-changing civic centre where Western Australia’s cultural past, present and future collide.