In 1978 the Art Gallery was renamed the Art Gallery of Western Australia and a new building was commissioned to house the states art collection. Charles Sierakowski, a Polish architect who had survived the occupation of his country by the nazis, was commissioned to design the new art gallery. The main building designed by Sierakowski is a modernist building with angular walls allowing art to be viewed at wide angles. A cast iron spiral staircase is the central feature of the gallery, with vistas across and between the nine viewing galleries. The building was said to have been inspired by the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Attached to this beautiful modern building is the Centenary Gallery.
The Centenary Gallery was initially the Perth Police Courts. The building was restored and opened in 1995 as a venue to exhibit Western Australia's collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and decorative arts. The building was originally built during the Western Australian gold rush. The Gold Rush changed the face of Western Australia, which until that time had been a poor state. The economic boom resulted in new buildings in Perth.
Western Australia's acting chief architect, Hillson Beasley designed the building. It was designed in the style of French Regency and has a mansard roof, which was not common in the architecture of Perth at the time. Western Australian materials were primarily used in the construction with limestone being quarried and transported from Donnybrook, in the states south west. Local jarrah, from the forests in the south west, was used to build the flooring and interior furnishings. The building had stained glass features and press metal ceilings. The building also had four cottages beside it to house the police and their family, a mortuary, a laundry, a yard and a stable for twenty four horses.
The Centenary Gallery in the Western Australian Art Gallery still retains much of the original building including all the jarrah Court fixtures and two holding cells. Visitors to the gallery have claimed to see apparitions. Cold spots have been reported in various parts of the Centenary Gallery. EVPs have been recorded by paranormal investigators in the preserved Court room. I personally spoke to a guard at the gallery that assured me it was haunted and some blessing ceremony had been held to appease the spirit. I have also experienced the cold spots in the gallery.
It's a fantastic place to visit and in my opinion houses some of the most spectacular art pieces that the Art Gallery of Western Australia owns.