Flagstaff Hill, Tweed Heads NSW

Following the design competition, the office was commissioned to design a new scheme for the Tweed River Regional Museum at Flagstaff Hill. This is the site of the former Pilot Station, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Tweed River mouth. It is an open grassy area, sloping from Hill Street on the ridgeline to Eden Street below. The main part of the building will be excavated into the sloping site and partially buried, covered with soil and planted with grass and gardens. The design draws on the traditions of maritime and defence structures, with massive concrete walls hunkered down into the ground to minimise exposure and blur the distinction between architecture and landscape.

The principal museum spaces are simple and robust, allowing for flexible fit-out and exhibition design. A row of light shafts cut through the roof, giving a dramatic wash of light to the otherwise enclosed museum spaces. At night the top of the shafts will glow like beacons marking the occupied space below and further contribute to the sense of this solid structure growing out of the ground.