Succeeding the former gallery, the Shepparton Art Museum channels the Australian aesthetic through its intuitive design envisioned by Denton Corker Marshall.
The practice won a design competition for the museum in 2017. Located on a floodplain, the practice decided to build up, not out. Spanning five floors, the 5,300 square metre museum comprises more than 4,000 artworks across four separate gallery spaces. The gallery also features a kids' space and workshop space, as well as a visitor information centre, an outdoor amphitheatre, cafe, an event space and terrace able to host 150 people, and the Kaiela Arts Aboriginal community arts centre.
Channelling the classic Australian veranda, four perforated L-shaped plates are suspended in the landscape across each of the building’s facades. The plate that faces the lake is made of rustic Corten steel, with the other three formed or powder coated aluminium. The plates conceal the cubic glass structure that houses the gallery.
“From a distance, the plates give virtually no indication of interior life and waits to be discovered and explored,” Denton Corker Marshall says in a statement.
“At their base, they float seemingly unsupported over an open, visibly accessible and highly activated ground plane. Each plate is simultaneously an object in its own right and an integral part of the whole. The plates group together, at different heights and contrasting materiality, to form a cube composition at a scale comparable to the surrounding red river gums. Each facade plate becomes a canvas, layered into the treed landscape of dappled light and shade with the ability to transform as a base for temporary installations or projection imagery.”
Image: Tim Griffith
The entrance opens out to a full-height atrium, as well as the community arts centre and administrative spaces. Moving up towards the first floor is the cafe, which steps out onto a terrace and the amphitheatre-esque seating area. Each of the four gallery spaces are reached via a central stairwell. Art Hill, a raised outdoor area, seeks to connect the gallery with the lake and surrounding parklands. The hill additionally holds the building services spaces and back-of-house areas.
Image: Tim Griffith
The coarse, industrial nature of the Shepparton Art Museum makes for an unprecedented visual in this country Victorian town. Standing high above the suburb’s built environment, the museum is a physical and cultural beacon, providing its community with a landmark building and a place of heritage and custom.