Cairns Regional Gallery was inspired over twenty years ago when the Public Curators’ Building, built in 1936, became available to the Cairns City Council for conversion. At that stage the site on which the building is located was heritage-listed, being adjacent to the first Cairns Courthouse. Known as the Public Curators’ building it housed numerous government departments including the State Government Insurance Commission, Tourist Bureau, Land Commission and Agricultural Bank, Forestry Offices, District Supervisor of Works and visiting Tax Inspectors. In recent history the building had served as the Cairns Magistrates Court.
A total of five major gallery spaces have been incorporated, with major physical changes to the structure taking place on the existing first floor and found space within the roof. This now houses the administration, ‘back of house’ facilities along with the Loft Community Gallery and service plant. Major considerations in the design were to accommodate a contemporary gallery, with its very specific lighting, public access requirements and discreet climate control along with a variety of versatile exhibition spaces whilst maintaining the Heritage Registered building’s design integrity as a tropical ‘government’ building.