Macaria Art Gallery - Heritage and Adaptive Re-Use

Dunn & Hillam Architects were engaged by Camden Council to develop a strategic framework for the establishment of a public art gallery in Camden's town centre. Following the success of this proposal, Dunn & Hillam were engaged for the adaptive re-use of a Victorian-Gothic heritage building  ‘Macaria’ to house the gallery.. The ‘Macaria' was built as a school in 1859-60 by Henry Thompson and sits amidst a precinct of historic and cultural buildings in the centre of Camden.

The new art gallery is now home to a large collection of works by the local artist Alan Baker (1914-87). The collection includes more than 70 works which span the greater part of the 20th century and offer unique insight into the history of the region.

The project involved the careful restoration and repair of original features throughout the building and essential upgrades to ensure the building could serve its intended use. 

The curatorial approach was considered from the early stages of the design process. Each room was themed around specific paintings and the colour palette selected to work alongside the artworks. New wall openings were installed to increase the light and space between gallery rooms, as well as helping alleviate issues associated with rising damp and accessibility. Bespoke joinery was designed to work within each gallery, and exhibition walls were designed to allow for salon style hanging in the hall and the largest gallery.

Photography by Katherine Lu

2018 NSW Architecture Awards, Heritage (Conservation and Creative Adaptation) - Commendation