In 2015 our long held aspiration to contribute to architectural design in the Pacific has been realised with four projects underway in Papua New Guinea. One of these exciting projects involves working with the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG) on a masterplan, a refurbishment and an exhibition design. This work is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Aid Program.
The ‘Built on Culture Exhibition’ is to be held in September to celebrate 40 years of PNG Independence. The exhibition will show 100 works from the museum’s extensive collection. The exhibition displays the objects in a new, light and spacious gallery. This is the first new exhibition at NMAG for many years and it marks a phase of revitalisation at NMAG.
The National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia are providing assistance to NMAG in their preparations for the exhibition. Our design team has enjoyed the contribution of an exhibition designer from Queensland GOMA.
The refurbishment project upgrades part of the gallery space at NMAG in anticipation of the Built on Culture Exhibition. The refurbishment stripped back light weight framed floors and walls to provide an open, flexible exhibition space that enjoys views of the sweeping roof and its tensile cable structure. The refurbishment reveals original features of the building including off form concrete walls.
The masterplan project assessed the NMAG facilities and its functions and operations. Working with NMAG’s senior management team a return spatial brief was developed and a draft corporate plan and organisational structure were prepared. Our masterplan design then responded to the corporate plan, organisational structure and the return brief. A key theme of the masterplan design is to transform NMAG into an outwardly focussed organisation that encourages visitation. The masterplan allows for the addition of a new public entry, art gallery and a modern history museum that will house WWII aeroplanes and artefacts. The masterplan positions NMAG as a major cultural hub for PNG, it transforms NMAG into a significant and vibrant public place for Port Moresby, and it will provide NMAG with an enhanced presence in international museum and gallery networks.