Australian Opal Centre

with Dunn & Hillam

The new AOC will be a national museum of opals and opalised fossils as well as a research facility and regional cultural and arts hub. Located at the 3 Mile mining site in Lightning Ridge, NSW, the two-story building will nestle within a reclaimed excavation pit. A Gondwana-inspired garden within the Centre surrounds the galleries and will house rare ancient plants.

In addition to the earth-sheltered cooling, the centre features middle eastern-inspired malqaf downdraft ventilation towers, which use spray misting to evaporatively cool the gardens and front of house areas. Closed-loop ground-source cooling system provides additional passive space heating and cooling as well as efficient mechanical heating and cooling to the closely controlled galleries and artifact storage areas. An on-site water recycling plant cleans all captured rainwater and wastewater for reuse within the Centre, while a large battery system powers the building through the night.