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Museum Architecture

Murray Art Museum Albury was redeveloped in 2015 as a cutting-edge art museum. The original buildings that comprise the current Museum include two historic buildings, Albury Town Hall and Burrows House, which are listed on the local government heritage list.

 Foyer Hero_Danica Chappell, Thickness of Time, 2018, MAMA, Photo Jeremy Weihrauch.jpg

Albury Town Hall

The building currently occupied by MAMA was the City’s original Town Hall. The grand building was intended to show the ‘energy, enterprise and grit’ of a district recovering from harsh times. A national competition was held calling for designs with the successful architect Gordon McKinnon and local master builder Ernest W Sharp reportedly winning the contract for £3707.00 pounds.

An excellent example of the federation free classical style, prevalent from 1890 to 1915, it was described by the NSW Heritage Council as “an exuberantly-designed town hall and chambers in Edwardian Baroque style with a profusion of painted stucco relief work, dominant features being the Bar­oque pediment, gable and centre shingled tower with iron lace flagpole platform, tall chimneys, parapet cupolas and lantern roof ventilators.”

The Town Hall was officially opened on 17 July, 1908, by the then Premier of New South Wales, Honourable. Thomas Waddell, and served as a recruitment office and Red Cross depot during both World Wars, as well as Council Office and Tourism Bureau.

To learn more watch 100th Anniversary of Albury Town Hall film commissioned by Albury & District Historical Society.

Two images side by side of the same building, one in black and white, and one in colour with an extension on the left of the building

Albury Regional Art Gallery

On June 29, 1981, the Albury Regional Art Gallery was opened by Premier Mr Neville Wran in the city’s former town hall building, under the governance of Albury City Council. The town hall, having sat empty since new council chamber offices opened on Kiewa Street in 1975, offered a fitting permanent home for the City's Collection and presentation.

Through state and local government funding the building underwent a major refurbishment between 1981-1984 by architect, Rob Stynes, with advice from Albury’s first Regional Art Director, Audray Banfield. The refurbishment included four separate gallery spaces over two levels and an internal sculpture garden.

MAMA Redevelopment

In 2014, Albury Regional Art Gallery closed in anticipation of the $10.5 million redevelopment to become a cutting-edge art museum. The development included renovations to the 1907 Town Hall and 1860 Burrows House (originally the Crowns Land Office).

The Museum footprint more than doubled from 832m² to 2036m² with extensions linking and extending both buildings into QEII Square. Further new features included flexible spaces currently used for exhibitions and events, a gift shop, café, workshops and hidden exhibit cupboards at child height and permanent collection storage.

The new building was designed by architect firm NBRS and Partners, built by Zauner Construction and funded by various donors including the local NSW government, MAMA Art Foundation and community donors.

A digitally generated photo of a large building surrounded by large trees and a green field

Innovative Design

The final design incorporates a double storey wall in the foyer atrium which curves in both directions, a feature which presented the challenge of sourcing a timber lining which could be manipulated to follow the compound curve. Supacoustic and Supaline concept timber veneer panelling was ideal as these products could be fabricated with the ability to be twisted and achieve this. This also included green options, noise reverberation and superior aesthetic appeal.

Archaeological Find

During the redevelopment archaeological monitoring uncovered remains of the first purpose built Telegraph Station for Albury and the original veranda of the Crown Lands Office (Burrows House).

Under a layer of capping clay older deposits of demolition material were encountered between stone foundations – artefacts found amongst the broken bricks included slate pencils, pins, pen nibs, buttons and other small objects.

A underground viewing platform is hosted in the Canvas Eatery at the rear of the Museum.

Matthew Harding

Degrees of Separation, 2015
Stainless steel facade sculpture with LED/DMX Lighting

One of Harding's largest sculptural commissions, Degrees of Separation, is a 30 metre sweeping series of enveloping steel sculptures across the entire rear façade of the newly extended MAMA building. The sculptures illuminate and change the exterior of the facade after sunset.

A large white building with a metal sculpture lit up with pink and orange lights

MAMA Revealed

Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley joined with Albury City Council Mayor Henk van de Ven to open the Museum in 2015 and welcomed 6,000 visits in the first four days.

The project won The Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA) that recognizes the excellence and innovative nature of Australia’s Gallery designs. MAMA was the 2016 recipient for Best Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout. Additionally, Zauner Construction won the 2016 Victorian Master Builder Awards for the redevelopment of two heritage buildings.