NSW minister for the arts Don Harwin announces the appointment of Cox Architecture and Neeson Murcutt Architects as project architects for the proposed refurbishment of the Australian Museum in Sydney.

The $57.5 million refurbishment of Australia’s oldest museum will include the extension of the award-winning entrance pavilion, Crystal Hall; a new double-height central hall created by removing an existing mezzanine floor; new entry points including a dedicated group entry directly off William Street, with a bus drop-off bay; a new family-oriented café on level 2; Members’ Lounge overlooking Cook and Phillip Park and St Mary’s Cathedral; existing storage space repurposed to create a new, flexible touring exhibition hall capable of staging major international exhibitions; and installation of solar panels on the rooftops to facilitate the museum’s move to renewable energy.

The renovation and expansion project will get the iconic museum ready to host world-class exhibitions such as ‘Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh’, which is scheduled for a six-month run in Sydney in early 2021 as part of a 10-city world tour.

The expanded space for touring exhibitions will be able to accommodate up to 800,000 visitors during a six-month blockbuster exhibition the size and scale of Tutankhamun, says the director and CEO of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay AO.

On the selection of architects, Harwin observes that Cox will bring their experience in the design and delivery of award-winning public projects, including museums while Neeson Murcutt will contribute their intimate knowledge of the Australian Museum, having designed the 2016 AIA NSW Public Architecture award-winning Crystal Hall entrance.

Image credit: Australian Museum