A regional museum featuring a green roof has been recognised as the best piece of public architecture in New South Wales.

Awarded the Sulman Medal for Public Architecture at the recent NSW Architecture Awards, the Orange Regional Museum by Crone Architects boasts an expansive grass roof – a continuation of the ground-level lawn. The roof extends the site’s available public green space and enhances it with a vantage point across the city.

This defining sustainability feature was installed by 2016 Sustainability Award-winning green roof wall company, Junglefy. Its creation required over 1,200 rolls of Tall Fescue and Kentucky Blue Grass turf, which was laid over 400 millimetres of custom-formulated soil that was pumped onto the roof. Seating stairs create an amphitheatre and provide access to the roof.

OrangeAerials_.jpgPhotography by Troy Pearson 
Orange-Museum__2-1.jpgPhotography by Tom Ferguson

But the exceptionalism of Orange Regional Museum goes far beyond this one feature. The museum integrates a new building into the existing cultural precinct, which is home to a gallery and library – designed by government architect Colin Still – that won the Sulman in 1986. The museum envelope is shaped to keep a line of sight through to the gallery, and to create a new civic square.

Orange-Museum_-1.jpgPhotography by Tom Ferguson

“This bold, large-scale intervention re-organises a whole city block through the application of a combined landscape, architectural and urban solution,” the Sulman jury noted. “Simple, bold and confident moves have created a destination for locals and visitors, which [provides] a clear and active address to the larger civic precinct.”

Inside, the Orange Regional Museum houses a collection of permanent and temporary exhibition spaces in addition to a visitor information centre, a cafe, and council offices.

Orange-Museum_7-1.jpgPhotography by Tom Ferguson

“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 jury commented.

Orange-Museum_8-1.jpgPhotography by Tom Ferguson

Crone began work on the Orange Regional Museum after winning a competitive tender for the project in 2013. The museum officially opened in November last year.