City Museum

Merit Award

Melbourne's City Museum calls itself "The Gateway to Marvelous Melbourne," and is considered an excellent orientation to visiting the city. It is located in the historic Old Treasury building, at a primary city intersection. Its main entry, however, is through a nondescript door found only after climbing a grand stair and crossing a windswept podium.

emerystudio's job was to signal the presence of the museum in a dramatic way and encourage visitors to make the trek to see its permanent and temporary exhibits.

The team designed bright red "folded" monumental signs that are "contemporary insertions" into the historic setting (an approach not appreciated by some more conservative members of the public, according to emerystudio). The 25mm and 40mm steel plate sign sculptures are located to subtly guide visitors upward to discover the museum entry and exhibitions.

Jury Comments: 

"Museums typically use banners and poster cases to identify themselves externally. This design dares to be different, solving the problems of an intimidating and monumental building by creating a bold and contemporary intervention that fights with the balance of the built environment. The sculptural forms are controversial and provocative and give you the impression that behind the museum doors all might not be exactly what you imagine. The color, form, material, and use of graphics are brave and create a great sense of arrival and a desire to explore."

Design Firm: 



City Museum

Location City: 

Melbourne, Australia

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Paul Knight, emerystudio

Design Team: 

Garry Emery (principal in charge), Mark Janetzki, Ben Kluger




Robert Hook

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