Galleries, museums + theatres
400 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Australia
client  Museum Victoria
Located in Melbourne's former Customs House, the Immigration Museum
is a project that required careful space planning and the resolution of visitor circulation in a building of considerable historic significance. We won an open design competition for the project, in association with Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd, who undertook the new additions at the rear of the building.
Our challenge was to adapt the various spaces for museum and exhibition use, the main one being the Long Room — a traditional customs hall in which transactions took place. There are also the major spaces on the first and second floors. The lower floors, built in massive bluestone, were designed for bonded storage. These we converted for use as a research centre and restaurant.
Major discoveries included the most beautiful complex stone geometric floors long ago concealed beneath layers of linoleum. The Long Room floor had been removed in the 1950s and we were able to replicate it based on fragments of encaustic tile found in floor fill. The new tiles were made at Stoke-on-Trent in the UK.
In the course of the project, the footings of the original customs house were found beneath the existing building and its courtyard. We designed a way for the public to see the location of these, using a lit pavement treatment both in and outside the museum.
Planning and design had to respond to a constantly changing brief, as the project became tangled in the politics of the day. The Hellenic part of the museum was established in acknowledgement of the high proportion of people of Greek descent in Melbourne.
constructed   1856-58, 1873-76
victorian heritage register   H 1047
ORIGINAL ARCHITECTS   Peter Kerr, Arthur E. Johnson, John J. Clark
photos Houseman & Wrigley
full list : see reports index ›
Melbourne Customs House (Immigration Museum):
400 Flinders Street Melbourne: conservation management plan
Allom Lovell & Associates
July 2003 : conservation management plan
Immigration, Hellenic and Archaeological Museum:
Heritage Victoria permit submission
Allom Lovell & Associates, Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd
1997 : submission
Old Customs House Museum: design proposal
Allom Lovell & Associates
March 1997 : report
Former Customs House, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne:
conservation plan
Australian Construction Services
May 1992 : conservation management plan
Former Customs House Museum, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Fiona Weaver
August 1997 : archaeological survey
© 2016 Lovell Chen Pty Ltd
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