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04 Journal

Ashley Dennis shares his experience working on regional public and cultural buildings in Architecture Bulletin


From my experience working on regional public and cultural buildings with Crone, I’ve found that regional architecture is an extremely rewarding, intimate experience that results in a high level of satisfaction for the team and all parties involved.

Since we are building in their own backyard, we find that the public is more invested in the project and keener to share their input. Interested stakeholders often include residents, local community, council members and cultural groups. Their opinions and perspectives help to influence the brief, while working together to deliver a more meaningful response that is tailor-made for the community.

With Crone’s 40 year history I was surprised to learn that Crone had limited experiencein designing a public or cultural building. Yet, in 2013 Crone’s high-level project vision and young emerging project team allowed us to be selected as the architects for the Orange Regional Museum. With our winning submission we were able to create a museum with a distinctive civic square for a local community in the Central West of New South Wales.

The highlight feature of the design is the sloped grassed roof and the idea of a new museum housed beneath a civic lawn/roof-scape resonated well with the user group. Their ambition for this project was encouraging and made the project richer and more meaningful as the design developed.

I am pleased to say that even before we put pen to paper, without subcontractors or intermediaries, we connected with the local community to understand their own visions for the museum.

We also had the same engaging experience on our second regional museum project, the Rocky Hill Memorial Museum in Goulburn, due for completion in 2019. Like the Orange Regional Museum, we had the opportunity to engage with the community and create a bespoke vision for them.

Both museums have benefited from federal government funding for a part of the project and have achieved a lot within the budget. However, it is clear that regional areas could do with more support as significant civic buildings and precincts really can transform local regional economies.

Beyond the reward in seeing successful built outcomes within regional contexts, I’ve developed a greater awareness for the incredible culture, ideas and projects coming out of regional based architects.

Following local recognition for the Orange Regional Museum in 2017, Crone has won many accolades including the Sulman Medal for Public Architecture, NSW Premier’s Prize, Australian Urban Design Award, and more recently the Chicago Athenaeum’s 2018 International Architecture Award in the Museum category.

The full magazine can be viewed here.

This article originally published by Architecture Bulletin Vol 75 No 2 (January 2019)

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