Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum

Remote Mesa, Winton, Queensland

This project is located on top of a remote mesa in far north Queensland in outback Australia.

It was created as a visitor centre for people to witness first-hand one of the world’s most significant and cohesive dinosaur collections and it is remarkable for two reasons.

The first is its gestation. Twelve years ago, a cattle grazier David Elliott accidentally stumbled on 100 million year old dinosaur fossils while mustering cattle. Since then, he has become Australia’s leading palaeontologist who has engaged Winton’s whole community in the excavating, assembly and conservation of large dinosaurs. Through these operations, Winton’s fragile farming economy has been transformed.

The second is its making. So enthralled were we by the phenomenon, we agreed to design it pro-bono, with the Elliott family and community to build it. They asked only that the Centre captures the essence of the ancient landscape and entices visitation by its forms and spaces.

The building is designed to unfold from the mesa, tapering back down to it. It is composed of only two materials – multiple large interlocking precast concrete panels imbued with the texture and colour of the red earth, and hand-made perforated iron screens.

The architecture is inspired by the site’s deep rock fissures. Its plan is a journey from a narrow entry aperture to a spatial sequence that fans out to embrace the alluvial dinosaur plane below.

Through this project, we evolved a new Australian architectural ethos of evolving from the landscape.

  • Awards
  • Technical Information
  • Cox Team

State Award for Public Architecture, AIA QLD 2013

Queensland State Award, CCAA 2013

Kevin Cavanagh Medal for Excellence in Concrete, CIA 2013

Shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival 2012

Client
Australian Age of Dinosaurs Ltd
Project Status
Completed, 2008-2012
Key Consultants
Bligh Tanner, Cushway Blackford & Associates, Consulting Coordination
Contractor / Builder
Woollam Constructions, Elliott Family
Cost
$710,000 (pro-bono)
Gross Floor Area
394m2
Jonathan Kopinski