The new AOC will be a national museum and multipurpose facility developed at the 3 Mile Opal Mining site beyond the immediate environs of Lightning Ridge, NSW. The site for the proposed building was bulk excavated in 2013 to enable substantial commencement of the construction of the new AOC Building. The AOC will be developed as a world leading provider of opal related knowledge, certification, education, training, scientific research, industry development, heritage arts, travel and culture. The new AOC will preserve, display and research the most comprehensive and valuable collection of Australian opal, opalised fossils and the remarkable, diverse
history of Lightning Ridge’s Community and opal fields.
The new AOC building is being designed by Architects Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin (Murcutt + Lewin) as an energy-efficient, partly embedded structure insulated by the thermal mass of the earth. The building as proposed is “off-grid” and autonomous in relation to all services. Not only, power/energy but also water collection, treatment, recycling and other waste systems. The generation of energy includes but is not limited to a photovoltaic ‘farm’, and passive ventilation systems.
The new facility will provide permanent exhibitions, education and learning facilities, flexible spaces for conferences, community events and temporary exhibitions, a cinema, gallery spaces, a high-security opal vault for sale and certification of high-value opal gemstones, collection storage and curatorial facilities, a research library, café and commercial kitchen, gift shop, storage / offices, an opal cutting workshop space, maintenance and plant areas, research laboratories and establishing a significant, unique Gondwana garden.