The Orange Regional Museum designed by Crone architects officially opened to the public last week revealing a brand new distinctive civic square and public space for the community.

Crone’s design for the new $8 million museum ties together the city’s existing Sulman award-winning gallery and library designed by NSW Government Architect, J Thompson, and while a project is more than just one part, the museum's unique grass roof is a major focus of the building’s publicity.

It was installed by Sustainability Award-winning green roof and wall company Junglefy, and consists of over 1,200 rolls of Tall Fescue and Kentucky Blue Grass turf laid on 400 millimetres of specially formulated soil pumped onto the roof.

Crone’s design stitches the city’s existing Sulman award-winning gallery and library to the new museum complex. Photography by Troy Pearson 

Crone reports that the building has been well received by the community since its opening. Photography by Tom Ferguson

In certain sections, the roof slopes at angles of up to 23 degrees and as such a sophisticated anti-erosion strategy was put in play to stop the soil and turf running down the hill.

Four material layers were installed on the roof even before the soil was pumped on. A waterproofing layer went on top of the slab and was then followed with geo-tech fabric, an egg-shell type drainage layer and another layer of filter fabric to control and slow water runoff.

A special eggshell-type drainage material was used to control runoff on the flat surfaces while a larger geo-webbing was laid in steeper sections. Images: ABC Central West

In the steep sections, open drainage geo-webbing was used to support the soil while the turf laid its roots over a six week period. Months on since its installation the green roof is healthy, stable and now open to the people of Orange as a new public green space and vantage point across the city.  


Crone began work on the museum after winning the competitive tender for an integrated landscape and built form in 2013, based on a preliminary sketch of the team’s vision of the project. The original brief from Orange City Council specified that the new building should sit within the current civic precinct. Crone strategically chose the specific location for the building to create a distinctive civic square between the new and existing buildings.

Crone design director Niall Durney explained that they took up the project for the opportunity to create a forward-thinking design for a regional centre that would contribute to the community and create a new destination for the area. Being their first regional design project, it also tied into the new direction for the company to diversify beyond commercial buildings.

From render to reality:the finished product looks strikingly similar Crone's initial concept first seen in 2013. Image: Crone/Photography by Tom Ferguson

The 1,300-square-metre Orange Regional Museum houses an exhibition space, visitor information centre, café and council office space. The museum will host temporary and permanent exhibitions on a variety of themes including settlement of the region, mining, the built environment, agriculture, migration, significant events and individuals from the local area. It will interpret the stories, cultures and places of the region, display artefacts that trigger memories, engage audiences and inspire new ways of thinking about history and cultures.