The Northern Territory government has announced a $100 million reinvention of Darwin’s cultural centre, including new museums and art galleries for the CBD.

As part of the announcement, a series of new cultural and urban design projects were revealed, including a new fine arts gallery, a new museum, a National Indigenous Arts Gallery and a revitalisation of Alice Springs CBD.

“The government’s commitment of $100 million to revitalise the Darwin CBD, including a new fine arts gallery at State Square and a new museum at the old hospital site a Myilly Point are all welcome initiatives,” says Andrew Broffman, NT chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

“A further $50 million for a National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs, $20 million towards revitalising Alice Springs CBD, and $10 million for the Katherine Arts Trail, all have the potential to enhance the territory’s urban places and cultural landscape, serving residents and attracting Australian and international visitors alike.”

Although architects and builders have not yet been decided for these new cultural sites, Broffman is urging the government to use it as an opportunity to engage local, design-led services. He said that, for the initiatives to truly reflect their cultural and geographical context, it would be important to draw from local knowledge and expertise in the design stages of the process.

“[The AIA] urge the NT government as they progress into the selection phases of designers, to place an emphasis on creative thinking that is founded on strong community engagement, local knowledge, experience and professional expertise,” he said. “Architects are some of the best-placed professionals to give shape to these ideas of our local culture.”