Project Scope

Established in 1891, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) is Australia’s most expansive regional museum. Spanning a history and natural science museum at Inveresk and an art gallery at Royal Park, QVMAG is among Tasmania’s landmark cultural sites.



As part of an effort to become a world-class art venue, QVMAG joined forces with COVA and acclaimed architect Andrew Andersons to design a state-of-the-art new gallery at the former railway yards in Inveresk. The new site was to house a major portion of the existing collection and play host to a roster of new exhibitions by contemporary artists from Australia and overseas.

COVA played an interdisciplinary role throughout the project by providing structural, civil, environmental and electrical engineering services and designing air-conditioning, lighting, fire and security systems and vertical transportation for the site.

The deteriorating condition of the existing building called for significant improvements to structural integrity. COVA responded to his by introducing inventive support arrangements which incorporated redundant gantry cranes.

The new museum also relied on precise air conditioning and ventilation systems that would promote visitor comfort and protect the works. After a research phase that included CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling of air flows to public areas and upper levels, COVA designed an air-conditioning system that reduced temperature variables and accurately controlled humidity. The system also made use of ultrasonic humidifiers and eco-conscious features such as ground source heat pumps.

COVA extended this same attention to detail to lighting design. The new computerised system was designed to address shifting lighting needs and specific curatorial requirements. COVA also designed and engineered an innovative fire and smoke detection system and a two-level lift to enable access to the upper-level curator’s rooms, office spaces and storage facilities.