THE Orange Regional Museum will be the first museum designed by the architect hired to come up with plans for the $7 million facility and could include a floor underground.
Orange City Council awarded the concept design contract to Sydney architectural firm Crone Partners for the lump sum of $47,000, yesterday.
Crone Partners’ associate architect Niall Durney said the public would have the opportunity to see what the museum could look like within a month.
“Our approach to the design would be quite respectful to the existing award-winning buildings,” he said.
“We want to give the museum a variety of programs ... not only a museum but also an event space used all-year round.”
Mr Durney said the large commercial firm usually focused on high-rise towers but liked to do “smaller boutique projects” like the museum when they could.
Orange and District Historical Society president Phil Stevenson said it was another big milestone for the project.
Early designs Crone submitted to the council, to illustrate potential ideas, suggested the museum could include a second floor underground, while the above-ground area had lawn on its roof similar to Parliament House, Mr Stevenson said.
“It’s a great idea but the trouble with the water table is in wet weather it’s near the surface,” he said.
Mr Durney said he hoped an underground floor could be included in the final design but it was still early days.
“It’s about creating a really good public space,” he said.
“We want the space to be used above and below ground.”
Cr Neil Jones said Crone’s tender showed an amazing capacity for innovation and conveyed a sense of excitement.
He would not comment on whether the visitor information centre would be demolished.
“We’ll get a better feel for the place in the next few weeks,” he said.
Community and cultural services director Scott Maunder said the council, museum working party and architects would meet and visit the site before starting the concept plans.
Once the plans are signed off they will be forwarded to the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) as part of the council’s application for $4 million funding for the project before the April cut-off.
“We’re not locked in to the submitted concept, but the final designs will be close,” Mr Maunder said.
At the time same time the plans will be publicly displayed for feedback.