Australian Museum

The award-winning 'Project Discover' brings an Australian icon back to light.

The Australian Museum takes pride of place at 1 William Street, Sydney, and overlooks the iconic Hyde Park. It is Australia's first museum and fifth oldest natural history museum in the world. With its recent extensive renovation, promising seamless circulation around the building and nearly doubling the size of the touring exhibition hall, the heritage listed Australian Museum may now sit among the best natural history museums in the world.

The award-winning 'Project Discover', driven by the design thinking of COX Architecture with Neeson Murcutt + Neille, expands its role as a world-class educational and cultural facility by providing a civic space where people can interact, discover and explore.

Lighting design was facilitated by ARUP, while ERGO Group took care of the lighting, electrical and communication installations, bringing new breathtaking experiences to guests at an unparalleled level. Trend Lighting was selected as part of the redevelopment's lighting solution, executing a stellar transformation for the Australian Museum.

Guided by the designer's concept development, numerous considerations for lighting were taken to promote the following - legibility of movement and wayfinding, engagement with William Street as its primary public domain focus and revealing the natural beauty of historic sandstone construction.

The new staircase is a highlight piece for 'Project Discover' and provides an up-close look at the craftsmanship of the historic sandstone work. To highlight these intricate details, the XF24120 strip lighting are used as a wall washer, presenting a warm contrast to the natural light and white surfaces of the stunning, Escher-influenced staircase.

Corridors leading from the staircase are lit with LST5 providing evenly lit floor surfaces while the wood panelled wall details are accentuated by cove lighting using the Flexiled strip light.

Natural light cascades through Hintze Hall, the central civic space. The public accessways to the Wild Planet Exhibition appear warm and inviting, illuminated by XDRL10 in 4000K colour temperature.

Visitors entering via the Groups Entrance will see the spectacular wall wash lighting effect courtesy of the LST collection along the Museum's lower ground sandstone corridors. LST, equipped with deep-set light optics, is designed for glare control and creating mood and ambience by hiding its light source within the field of view. The luminaires were carefully placed between the concrete ceiling slats allowing the textured surfaces to be highlighted.

The Australian Museum's gift shop has also received a spot of attention, illuminated by XTB15 - an ideal lighting solution for retail environments as they allow versatility and control.

Congratulations to COX Architecture and Neeson Murcutt + Neille on winning the National Architecture Award for both Public Architecture and Heritage Architecture for Project Discover. These awards are a great addition to an already impressive list of achievements for the project.

"...A number of memorable and ingenious gestures reveal and celebrate the museum's rich historic layering. Heritage sandstone, previously hidden, now shines alongside sensitively inserted modern inclusions..." AIA Jury on Project Discovery
Location: Sydney, NSW
Electrical and Communications: Ergo Group
Builder: Kane Constructions
Lighting Design: Arup
Photographer: Brett Boardman Photography