projects » central goldfields art gallery

Central Goldfields Art Gallery / CGAG
Nervegna Reed Architecture
Year completed: 2022
Photos: John Gollings

central goldfields art gallery

Maryborough is situated on Dja Dja Wurrung country in central Victoria, Wurundjeri. The project comprises of the Art Gallery and an Indigenous Interpretive Sculpture Garden. Nervegna Reed were engaged to design the gallery and Djandak (arm of Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) designed the sculpture garden due for completion later this year. The two aspects of the projects are integral to a cultural decolonising of Maryborough. The CGAG site, an 1861 fire station, sits at the end of the 19th century civic spine which extends to the Maryborough train station.

The aim was to revitalise the buildings while including Djaara history and culture, to correct the dominance (and violence) of colonial history and ideology. The design aimed to incorporate multiple narratives into the spaces, to ‘surgically’ cut into the 19th century fabric of the building to reveal other histories, viewpoints, and to avoid the dominant ideology of the Victorian.

In the Wartaka meetings we discussed strategies with the Dja Dja Wurrung landscape design team. Rather than performing a normal historic restoration of the building back to its original state (and ideology), we discussed slicing through the building to reveal and create spaces which connect cultures, multiple ideologies, beliefs, histories and stories: A system of design tactics to reveal new, multiple truths in the spaces, unsettling the notion of a single dominant colonial ideology.

This process created cuts through the building to new views to the sculpture garden and vertically to the tower, which had never been seen from the inside before. The building's spaces will connect with the fire themed sculpture garden, revealing new relationships. A polycarbonate moon (and sun) wall faces the sculpture garden, lighting up the garden at dusk from within, like a full moon on the wall, connecting the gallery with the garden and providing an image that resonates with everyone.