Shepparton gets a new arts ‘beacon in the landscape’

The northern Victorian town of Shepparton – long home to the canned fruit industry and an enlightened attitude to welcoming refugees – has chosen architects Denton Corker Marshal to design its new Shepparton Art Museum (known as SAM) replacing its exisiting gallery of the same name. SAM has a national reputation for its ceramics collection and annual ceramics prizes.

A seven member expert jury report unanimously selected DMC as the winning proposal for the Stage 2 concept design competition from a field of five designs.

The jury report said the DMC building was a ‘beacon in the landscape’ and “offered an expressive, innovative, contemporary and exciting SAM that works well with its immediate and greater environmental, social and cultural contexts”.

DCM design director Adrian FitzGerald said: “Our design is characterised by simplicity and clarity with compelling imagery creating a landmark cultural destination. By making the building small and tall we maximise parkland around the gallery and incorporate numerous places for community interaction, including a Sculpture Forecourt, Community Arbour, Art Hill, cafe and roof top event venue along with sheltering verandahs to all four sides of the building.”

Of its population of 50,000 there were 1,417 submissions from locals which the jury said helped inform their decision.

The town mayor Dinny Adam said the new SAM would be a “game changer” by creating tourism and employment. “It will provide a cultural centre to our regional city but it will be more than an art museum; it will be a place for learning and experiencing, socialising and celebrations. The selected design is reflection of what makes Greater Shepparton unique.”

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