Text description provided by the architects. Newcastle Museum consists of a series of revitalised “turn of the Century” industrial brick railway workshop buildings - Blacksmith’s and Wheel Shop (1880), Locomotive Boiler Shop (1887), and New Erecting Shop (1920) located within the urban waterfront regeneration precinct of Honeysuckle. The challenge was to provide a linkage element to not only create a new sense of identity for the heritage structures and to provide an visually and physically accessible entrance to the three buildings, but to also upgrade them to accommodate a national standard museum and associated support requirements, without diminishing the integrity of the existing fabric.
The new building elements are conceived as a series of floating cloud like roof forms that hover in-between the heavy masonry of the existing workshops. These white cloud-like forms draw in natural light, shade and protect visitors and exhibits, while also creating a new sense of entry and central orientation for the Museum circulation.
Below the floating roof forms is the ‘Link’ structure in steel and glass that accommodates the foyer, temporary exhibition and circulation areas. The Link structure is joined to the adjacent Workshop buildings via metal tube-like forms that create extended threshold transitions into differing exhibition volumes.