The Orange Regional Museum is situated in Orange, a regional center around four hours west of Sydney. It’s a thriving and charming town, with a strong sense of community and a culturally progressive spirit. The new Orange Regional Museum, by Crone, is a striking and contemporary addition to this place. Through a design approach that combines architectural and urban strategy with landscape, the building creates a new public precinct in the heart of Orange.
The design approach of Orange Regional Museum begins with its urban form. The museum is a highly three-dimensional building, which folds, sweeps and tucks itself around its site. This architectural gesture is a result of Crone’s design strategy, which overlays ‘building, landscape and events.’
Orange Regional Museum occupies a prominent street corner, and sits adjacent to several existing cultural buildings, including the local art gallery, civic theatre and library. Admirably, Crone’s project stitches these existing public facilities together, orienting the buildings around a new public square.
On approach, the long concrete façade of Orange Regional Museum gives the building great presence, and defines a new urban edge. The building is unashamedly contemporary, and sits confidently within this heritage town.
Orange Regional Museum is a tapered and tailored piece of architecture. Every edge of the building responds particularly to its context and purpose, and the result is deceptively simple. Along one edge, the roof plane sweeps down to provide access to a green-grassed roof. This surface rises up from the footpath, providing passers by with a place to stop, relax or enjoy city views.
Meanwhile, along another side, the building terraces down in a series of steps. This amphitheatre forms another gathering space, where events can take place. These nips and tucks undoubtedly create an urban environment that is playful and engaging, where people feel welcomed by the architecture.
The Orange Regional Museum is 1300m2 in size, and includes a visitor information centre, café, council offices and permanent and temporary exhibition spaces. The internal layout of the building is intentionally flexible, with a range of open spaces that can be adjusted to suit the diverse requirements of contemporary exhibitions.
Entry to the building takes place through the new civic plaza, which frames the older buildings on one side, and the new on the other. The dialogue between these buildings reinstates the relevance and significance of the older cultural facilities, giving them new life.
Moving inside, the project is rigorously planned to make the most of its angular geometry. Throughout the project, a reductive material palette of concrete, metal and glass provides a stark and simple backdrop to the exhibitions and activities taking place.
Sustainability was also a priority for this project. Across the building, concrete is employed to maximise thermal mass and improve heating, cooling and acoustic performance. Likewise, the building form is oriented to shade key public spaces in the heat of summer.
Orange Regional Museum is a bold and compelling cultural building. It elevates this regional center with a complex and dignified piece of architecture, and provides this town with a place where it can collect and reflect on its history.