National Museum of Australia, Australian Capital Territory

Market SectorPublic Building
CompletionJune 2013
Project Value$6.4 million
ArchitectSophie Cleland, Associate ARM Architecture (Ashton Raggatt McDougall)
ClientNational Museum of Australia
ProductPERMAROCK®Outdoor / PERMAROCK® System Products

Flexibility the key to continuing a design legacy housing our history

Building the new wing to house the administration staff of the National Museum of Australia, and provide safe and comfortable passage throughout the different wings seems an easy project on the surface. But, when you consider that the surface has to convey a story as well, choosing the right product that will also meet design and budget needs was all part of the challenge when creating this colourful and unique building in Canberra.

ARM Architecture were retained to design the $6.4 million extension to this social history museum that explores the land, nation and people of Australia.

“The goal was to produce a project that continues the legacy created by the Museum and to give the staff community of the museum a new home,” says Sophie Cleland, Associate, ARM Architecture.

“There were several challenges,” she says, “including providing a new piece to the overall master plan that integrates with existing buildings. These incorporate a heritage listed 1940’s brick building and an aluminium clad building we had completed back in 2001 and we needed to create a workplace that suited the NMA’s philosophies and culture.”

With the precedent that had already been set with the 2001completed project, which featured many symbols and stories, including over-scaled Braille messages written onto the façade, ARM felt that they needed to continue this legacy and design a building that would continue the concept of representing the museum through design.

The façade of the new wing is clad in a glazed tile which responded to site conditions and the operations of the museum. To continue the theme of telling a story with the building itself, the tiles are arranged into QR codes, bringing design and technology concepts together on the building in a unique way.