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Shepparton Art Museum set to be unveiled in November

Shepparton Art Museum set to be unveiled in November
September 23, 2021

Shepparton Art Museum - the new landmark cultural destination designed by internationally renowned architects Denton Corker Marshall - is scheduled to open to the public on 20th November 2021. As the only public art museum in Greater Shepparton and north central Victoria, the Museum aims to present great art in Shepparton, and to contribute to the cultural enrichment, community engagement and economic prosperity of the region.

The design of the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) was unanimously selected from an architectural competition in 2017 and endorsed by Greater Shepparton City Council. The regional art museum designed by Denton Corker Marshall joins the practice’s impressive cultural portfolio which includes the Australian Pavilion in Venice, the Melbourne Museum, the Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitors Centre, and the Museum of Sydney.

Situated in regional Victoria around two hours’ drive north from Melbourne, SAM is located on the lands of the Yorta Yorta peoples, on the shore of Victoria Park Lake, Shepparton. The new building was funded by Local Council, State and Federal funding, and private philanthropic and community support through the SAM Foundation.  SAM’s design was brought to fruition by builders Kane Constructions; engineers Arup, building surveyors Steve Watson & Partners, landscape architects Urban Initiatives, with signage & wayfinding by Studio Ongarato, who all worked closely with Denton Corker Marshall and Greater Shepparton City Council.

SAM as one of Australia’s outstanding regional art museums, showcases their exhibitions and collections in new and exciting ways and creates a welcoming, inclusive and engaging space for all audiences. Artists are central to their work. Their programming is designed to be locally relevant and engage with global contemporary ideas. SAM is recognised for its significant Australian ceramics collection, and their nationally significant collection of Indigenous art.

John Denton, Founding Director, Denton Corker Marshall notes "The Shepparton Art Museum was a great competition to win as it represents such an important cultural contribution to a regional city like Shepparton. Sitting between the lake and the main road into town from Melbourne it presents a strikingly bold signal - a new contemporary building added to the fabric of the city."

Shepparton Art Museum Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Rebecca Coates advises “the building is about hope and aspiration, with a range of welcoming spaces and places designed to invite all members of the public to meet, enjoy, and call their own through arts and culture. There’s a play of theatre, performance and comfortable reflection with natural light and views to the landscape connecting people to context and landscape.”

Designed to act as a ‘live’ building where every surface presents an opportunity for display, event or installation, the new art museum is characterised by simplicity and clarity of materials and form and includes an art museum housing over 4,000 artworks, four main gallery spaces including a dedicated Kids Space and Workshops; Visitors’ Information Centre; Kaiela Arts Aboriginal community arts centre; an outdoor amphitheatre and Art Hill; and cafe and 150-person event space and terrace, all within an 5,300metre2 cubic building.

With a restricted ground floor footprint due to a floodway across the site, the building is extruded vertically over five levels to generate the distinctive small-and-tall art museum with panoramic views across the surrounding lake and Goulburn Red River Gum forest.

Conceived as a ‘land sculpture’ nestled into the surrounding landscape, as the tallest building in Shepparton, it acts as a beacon in the low, flat Shepparton topography. The external façade of Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) comprises four thin floating perforated L-shaped plates suspended in the landscape whose form references the overhang of traditional Australian verandas that offer shade and shelter. Three of the plates comprise powder-coated aluminium with the southern approach incorporating an integrated Visitor’s Centre super graphic and the entry to SAM on Wyndham Street featuring a cut out offering a tantalising glimpse of the interior. The rich ochre-red corten steel of the fourth plate faces the lake and river plain.

From a distance, the plates give virtually no indication of interior life and waits to be discovered and explored.  At their base, they float seemingly unsupported over an open, visibly accessible and highly activated ground plane. Each plate is simultaneously an object in its own right and an integral part of the whole. The plates group together, at different heights and contrasting materiality, to form a cube composition at a scale comparable to the surrounding red river gums. Each facade plate becomes a canvas, layered into the treed landscape of dappled light and shade with the ability to transform as a base for temporary installations or projection imagery.

The design is integrated into the park via a dramatic Art Hill, screening all building services, back-of-house and loading under the expanded parkland. The Art Hill creates an upper ground level, enabling the museum cafe to enjoy an elevated outlook whilst being directly connected to, and accessible from, the park.

Internally, the transparent and accessible museum experience is centred around an open, circulation galleria with four different galleries, totalling 800metre2, accommodated across four floors including two major AA rated exhibition spaces which can accommodate exhibitions and loans of international significance. The gallery spaces include The Lin Onus Gallery, People’s Gallery, Williamson Community Space, SAM Kids Space, the Bill Kelly Peace Room designed as a collection viewing space, and Showcases at the entrance to SAM and across each floor featuring new commissions and SAM’s ceramics collection. The interior design – the interconnected multi-level spaces, materials, texture, with intuitive wayfinding by Studio Ongarato – are overlaid with contrasts of drama, reflection, outlook, information and discovery, all which are conceived as integral elements of the museum experience.

For more information on Shepparton Art Museum go to

For more information on Denton Corker Marshall - recognised as one of Australia’s most celebrated design practices - go to

Images: Shepparton Art Museum. Credit :John Gollings Photography

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11th February 2021 - Shepparton Art Museum announces new development team

27th February 2019 - Kane Constructions announced as Shepparton Art Museum builder

11th September 2017 - Victorian Government approves Shepparton Art Museum development

20th April 2017 - Denton Corker Marshall wins new Shepparton Art Museum architecture competition

20th January 2017 - Design concepts revealed for new Shepparton Art Museum

30th October 2016 - QAGOMA and Singapore Art Museum agree long term partnership

3rd March 2016 - Shepparton Art Museum Redevelopment Project gets $10 million boost

27th January 2016 - First International Modern Art Museum to open in Indonesia in 2017

10th October 2015 - Albury Art Museum reopens after $10.5 million facelift

3rd July 2015 - New Japanese art museum provokes encounters and stimulates senses

8th October 2014 - Construction begins on the new National Art Museum of China

27th November 2013 - Study reveals the impact of Public Art Museums

19th June 2013 - Iranian art entrepreneur to open Dubai’s first public art museum

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