The heritage listed Cairns Regional Gallery, with its neo-classical colonnades and porticos, required an expansion to it’s café, providing an extensive permanently shaded, weather protected area and a new bar facility.
TPG Architects completed the Gallery conversion some three years earlier, responded with this brief by hang- ing a battened steel and timber, planear structure over an existing timber deck. “Like a high tech umbrel- la, the roof hangs on stainless steel ties, floating in front of the heritage façade”. A thin yellow line of drop down awnings compliment the use as a bright outdoor café. Slightly tilted towards the Gallery’s main entry, the space opens up to the city centre tempting passerbys on Cairns main pedestrian boulevard.
The few structural connections to the existing buildings are obvious, bolted on connections exaggerating the fact that the whole structure is just sitting there and can be unbolted any time. “We wanted to create a feeling that we were only touching the building in a very temporary manner.”
The new bar area for the café was built into an existing balcony of the main Gallery. Previously full height glass panels were opened and wrapped around the old columns, and fitted with a concealed drop down door. The new bar, constructed of 6 millimetre thick, galvanised plate steel, thrusts out through this new opening.