The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is one of the oldest museums and art galleries in Australia and a site of national significance. The stage 1 redevelopment and adaptive reuse interweaves the heritage buildings on the museum’s campus at Constitution Dock on Hobart’s waterfront. The heritage buildings on site include the Commissariat Store (1808-10), the Private Secretary’s Cottage (1815) and Custom House (1902) which are not only significant in their own right, but are also themselves artifacts and part of the TMAG collection. Inspiration for the project was drawn from the local artifacts within TMAG’s extensive collection.
This masterplan project by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp will expand the museum through new additions and adaptive reuse as well as extend the public open space and museum forecourt.
The new build elements were integrated into the existing heritage fabric to create a coherent museum complex, providing a prominent and significant site for Hobart. The most spectacular example is the 1901 truss roof over the Central Gallery, which was painstakingly raised one floor level.
The new spiral staircase is another key feature of the interior, as it sculpturally connects the modern forms with the existing heritage structure. The new design provides a fully functioning modern facility, from office and administration to public and function spaces through to conservation, display and archaeologically significant zones.
The adaptations allow public access to previously unseen spaces, restricted because of the fragile nature of the buildings. The project adopted an innovative approach by combining traditional materials and construction methods to repair and adapt.