Orange Regional Museum, undertaken by Crone, is this year’s recipient of the NSW Sulman Medal for Public Architecture. The Sulman Award is the prize for the building that’s judged to the best piece of public architecture in the state.
Undertaken by Crone in February 2013 with an innovative and unique approach to the brief, the site has been shaped to keep line-of-sight to the gallery and create a new civic square while protecting it from winter southerly winds. While identifying that Orange has something special to offer, it is also the biggest of the architectural awards that Crone has been granted to date. It is now the second time that Orange has been awarded the Sulman Medal with the Library and Art Gallery winning the award 31 years ago. Government architect Colin Still won the award in 1986.
Stairs create a public amphitheatre allowing access to the rooftop landscaping that slopes to create a public hill. With this innovative approach to the brief and site, Crone was commissioned to carry out the full design and documentation highly supported by the local user groups and Orange Council.
The Australian Institute of Architects jury praised the innovative structure which features a small park on the museum roof, “This bold, large-scale intervention re-organises a whole city block through the application of a combined landscape, architectural and urban solution. Simple, bold and confident moves have created a destination for locals and visitors, which provide a clear and active address to the larger civic precinct.
A variety of robust public spaces lend themselves to engagement and activation and every surface of the architecture becomes a programmable element. The building’s roof forms a stepped amphitheatre for events at the heart of a civic precinct and a folded lawn provides views back across the town. The museum interior is open and flexible allowing it to fluidly evolve as the curatorship requires. Its plan is tightly packed to ensure adequate public address, with circulation around its perimeter. The Museum’s strong architectural form acts to pivot street life into a new public square, fronted by the Museum and the existing Orange Library and Gallery, itself a Sulman award winning project.”