THE designers behind Bathurst's newest museum have won the state's top prize for regional architecture.
Integrated Design Group (IDG) took home four awards from the recent Australian Institute of Architects NSW Country Division Awards ceremony but the top gong was the James Barnett Award for their work on the Bathurst Rail Museum.
James Barnett was the colonial architect in the late 1800s and the award named in his honour is presented each year to the top project by a regional architect.
Director Tony McBurney, who established IDG in Bathurst 21 years, said it was the second time the firm had won the James Barnett Award but the first time for a project in their home town.
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"The restoration of the Railway Institute Building as a key feature of the complex is an important example of good practice in preserving Bathurst's architectural heritage," Mr McBurney said.
"There is often a false distinction between preservation and development in Bathurst [but] the rail museum demonstrates how new and old buildings ought complement each other to create unique places that add real value to our town.
"The 'old tin shed' that had been abandoned in Havannah Street now tells of its role at the heart of a community and in the making of a prime minister, and it invites visitors to a unique experience.
IDG architects worked closely with Bathurst Regional Council on plans for the museum while the consultant team included Bathurst engineers Calare Civil and landscape design by Celia Baxter.
Skilled local tradesmen from Tablelands Builders built the museum.
Award judges said the museum project delivered on the promise of "recording, rediscovering and reinvigorating the continuing social and railway history of Bathurst, Australia's oldest inland European settlement".
"The museum skilfully combines the preservation and enhancement of a heritage building with the successful addition of new buildings and insertions into the engaging precinct, adding a new built history to the existing," the citation said.
"The contrasting form, colour and materiality of the contemporary buildings clearly define old and new.
"The elegant entry 'platform' roof with its clever architectural detailing and materiality offering more than just a nod to Bathurst's railway past."
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