Winthrop Hall - Architectural Surveys 06

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Winthrop Hall’s Architectural Story

Each and every building has its own story to tell…. and in Perth last week we were looking for the tales and secrets to be shared by Winthrop Hall at the University of WA. It’s an extraordinary and monumental neo-byzantine stone building with a 45m clocktower, created during a West Australian renaissance of ideas and influences in the late 1920s.

Winthrop Hall - Architectural Surveys 05It will be an interesting challenge, as we are hoping to cover the 100 years of University history and accomplishment in a 20 minute show onto the building.

This would not be presented by decade nor by chapter; instead by themes that interweave historic and contemporary ideas. Consider it to be “a lovely memory jogger of memorable moments for those who know” AND “an insight into the greatness of the UWA for those who don’t”.

Some interesting facts and features… there is a glass bottle containing a letter and photo of John Winthrop Hackett buried under the foundation stone (he was one of the founders of the University and who bequeathed funds for the first buildings). The first university building was actually a weatherboard hut in a different part of Perth… it would have been very hot and there are stories that at one stage students were permitted to exit via the windows to make a quick escape! And the stone reflection pool at the base of the Winthrop Hall was one of the last features to be added during the 5 year build… but as it was running behind leading up to the grand opening, dozens of engineering students pitched in to help dig and concrete the pool in time for the event. You’ll discover what else we found out at another time!

In the meantime, the architecture itself informs the shape of the show, captured in 3D models and survey preparations last week.

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