The new café extension at the National Museum of Australia is a link between the main museum and Lake Burley Griffin. The extension takes the concept of the Boolean string used in the museum, creating a uniquely shaped dining space that sweeps out towards the lake, opening views and providing a destination function and dining space.
The new National Museum of Australia Café includes a 180m2 commercial kitchen designed for both large scale catering for the Museum’s functions for up to 400 people and a public eating venue. The existing restaurant space has been extended to incorporate seating for up to 200 people internally and 50 people on the external decks. The cafés front of house has 3 zones, a grab and go, coffee station and a servery. The layout includes built in banquette seating, a communal table and lounge in the footprint of the existing and flexible seating, and a second lounge in the extension to the lake. The finishes have expressed the new and original with the repurposed spaces in the olive green of the main building and limed ply utilised in the new works.
The reshaping of the National Museum of Australia Cafe consolidates the existing restaurant and cafeteria into one cafe-style dining experience. By providing a new and distinct dining facility the NMA have created a destination venue with one of the only lakeside dining experiences that takes in the incredible Lake Burley Griffin. The café has large expanses of glass which are a custom high performance framing system and glass. The internal finishes include water based stains on natural timber and low emission hoop pine plywood lining. The original design of the NMA was based on ideas of various people’s history, weaving together to create rich stories. History as a puzzle that has various meanings and pieces that may or may not fit comfortably alongside other histories. The new café extension is located on axis with the current restaurant and museum cafe and extends south-west to Lake Burley Griffin. The unique form of the café is created by a Boolean string. With the new cafe, the Boolean string introduced in the Museum continues out of the Main Hall as an imaginary line, returning to the site with a sweeping gesture over Lake Burley Griffin, tying with the Main Hall at its south-west corner, enmeshing the cafe with its lake side surrounds.