Project Background

Council endorsed the recommendations of the SAM Feasibility Study and Business case for a new Shepparton Art Museum on 19 May 2015. This project is included in Council’s long term financial plan, strategic resources plan and Council Plan.

Community consultation

Council conducted a public feedback process with 76 per cent of the 1,781 respondents in favour of supporting the business case for a new Shepparton Art Museum. Nineteen per cent opposed the business case and five per cent partially supported the business case.

Design competition

To progress this project and find a suitable design for SAM, a design competition was developed and endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

In 2015, Council engaged a Competition Advisor to see through the Governance and Management of the design competition, to ensure the process followed the principles outlined in the Australian Institute of Architects’ Architectural Competitions Policy and Guidelines for the Conduct of Architectural Competitions.

These competition guidelines provided a comprehensive account of governance structure, which was an essential component in obtaining endorsement from the Institute.

During July 2016, Council advertised an Architectural Design Competition for the new Shepparton Art Museum. The two stage competition was conducted in accordance with the Australian Institute of Architects’ Competition Guidelines. The competition commenced through an Expression of Interest process, asking for a design approach and a vision for the new facility as well as a capability statement.

A comprehensive Competition brief was developed and provided for this process. Council received 88 submissions via TenderSearch.


A skills-based Jury was set up, consisting of:

  1. Shelley Penn - CHAIR (Previously Manager City Design Studio, City of Melbourne, now Consultant)
  2. Donald Bates (Director, Lab Architecture Studio and Professor of Architecture, University of Melbourne)
  3. Rueben Berg (Executive Director, Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria),
  4. Dr Rebecca Coates (Director SAM)
  5. Carrillo Gantner AO (Philanthropist)
  6. Doug Hall AM (Writer and Curator. Director, Queensland Art Gallery|GOMA (1987-2007), Australian Commissioner, Venice Biennale (2009-2011)
  7. David Islip (Principal Adviser Urban Design & Architecture, Department of Premier and Cabinet)

The Jury convened on Thursday 29 September 2016 to shortlist 88 to five applicants and undertook a site visit. The final elimination round concluded and recommending five applications – Denton Corker Marshall, John Wardle Architects, Kerstin Thompson Architects, Lyons, MvS Architects.

Community comment on designs

The shortlisted Architectural firms then developed their expression of interest into Concept Designs for consideration. Council hosted a public exhibition of these concept designs for three weeks, from 16 January 2017 to 5 February 2017. Community feedback was provided in the form of a paper survey and online process.  1,417 feedback forms were received and overall the feedback was incredibly constructive with only 20 negative comments.  In accordance with the competition conditions, the public comment results are confidential and only available for the Jury Members to view.

There were also over 1,000 people who visited the exhibition over the three week period. There was also significant media interest in the Design Competition. During this period there was also valued engagement with Friends of SAM, Kaiela Arts members and Board, Visitor Information Centre staff and volunteers, Shepparton Festival board, Goulburn Valley Environment Group, Committee 4 Greater Shepparton members and Council staff.

The community voted for all five designs with particular interest supporting three of the designs. The comments and feedback were discussed and taken into account by the Jury during their deliberations. The jury thanked the community for their valued input in their final report.

Jury deliberation

The Jury convened again on 14 February 2017 to deliberate on the winning Concept Design. The five shortlisted Architects were invited to present their concept design to the Jury and answer questions on that day.

In accordance with the Assessment Criteria outlined in the Expression of Interest document, the scoring and deliberation was based on:

  • 50% Design approach – The quality and strength of the design team’s ideas, approach and strategy for the project.
  • 50% Capability and experience
  • 20% Nominated design team – skills, experience and qualifications and extent of involvement of key personnel
  • 30% Design team capacity and resources, including ability to deliver outstanding architecture and landscape design of similar scale and complexity, ability to achieve cost-effective solutions through excellent design, ability to work effectively with local government or similar clients and a range of stakeholder, and to coordinate consultant teams.

Overall, all Jury members were very pleased with the final result for what will be a state of art building and a piece of art sculpture on the Victoria Park Lake site.

The Jury commended the entrants for their carefully prepared concept designs and vision for the project. The field of submissions was competitive and the Jury considered each scheme carefully and at length against the design competition’s Evaluation Criteria in the context of the specified Design Objectives for the project. After extensive discussion, taking into account the community comments, the decision of the Jury was unanimous.

The jury report is confidential and will not be made available.