Bringing the scheme together as a cohesive ensemble was a key consideration, along with an effective programmatic resolution of the brief. Garvin’s neo-classical building formally addresses the street. By inserting a new pavilion designed to be seen in the round, tucked between the original one and Bendigo Creek, the wider views from the park are acknowledged. The two structures are linked visually by their shared podium level, scale and warm colour. The pavilion doesn’t overwhelm its single-storey companion, helped by the use of just one material for its exterior (Corten), which blurs the scale and allows it to be read as single-storey too.
Inside, the pavilion has two levels. Its form is a contemporary interpretation of an arcaded loggia. A highly-insulated airtight inner building houses the environmentally-controlled gallery and collections store above. This inner box is surrounded by a ventilated, naturally-lit timber-lined circulation space, in turn enclosed in glass and the weathering steel cladding, here in the form of a perforated screen. Operational affordability was a factor in the choice of materials and raw finishes, and in the use of Passive House measures such the energy recovery ventilation system and the elimination of thermal bridges by minimising the use of structural steel.
The major conservation works programme for the original rendered masonry hall focused on the removal of non-original fabric and the return of spaces to their 1921 plan forms. The west wall has been reinstated to its original alignment and the patchy exterior finish restored to a sandstone colour using pigmented render — all had turned grey, including the open loggia. The decorative fibrous plaster ceilings of the two main exhibition spaces have been conserved and the whole building re-roofed.
The extension is certified Passive House
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