Australian architecture firm Angelo Candalepas and Associates has been selected by the Victorian Government and the National Gallery of Victoria to design NGV Contemporary, Australia’s largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design. The 30,000 sqm Victorian landmark will feature dramatic arched entries, a 40-metres-high spherical hall, more than 13,000 sqm of exhibition galleries, and an expansive rooftop terrace and sculpture garden overlooking Melbourne.
The triangular-shaped site provides a unique architectural landmark with pathways that cut through the building and connect the parklands to Southbank, unifying the surrounding Melbourne Arts Precinct with the wider neighborhood. The winning design provides a generous and highly accessible building, with large arched public entries from the new public parkland, Southbank Boulevard and the corner of Kavanagh Street. The building’s eastern façade incorporates a multi-level veranda, offering an external pathway between the building levels, along with expansive views of Melbourne’s skyline.
Upon entering the gallery, visitors are met with a space visually inspired by omphalos, the Ancient Greek word for the center of the earth. A central spherical hall soars more than 40 meters upwards, spanning across all levels of the building and connecting to a lantern in the sky. This colossal hall will function as a gallery to display large-scale artworks, and will allow visitors to move through the building via a spiraling pathway. As visitors walk through the space, they will experience a journey between the building’s levels, emerging into the rooftop terrace.
The design features an unprecedented large format and highly flexible exhibition spaces with state-of-the-art display systems that allow NGV to present significant works of contemporary art and design of Australian and international artists. To further promote an all-encompassing cultural experience, the design also offers educational spaces, studios and laboratories for conservation of artwork. The gallery also features several facilities that will complement the exhibition galleries, such as a large café directly connected to the expanded public parkland and a new NGV design store. Taking advantage of the building’s unique location with vistas of Melbourne’s CBD, parklands and the Yarra Ranges, the project boasts a panoramic public rooftop terrace and a sculpture garden accessible from it.
The winning design team comprises: Angelo Candalepas and Associates, ASPECT Studios, BoardGrove Architects, Richard Stampton Architects, Carr, Andy Fergus Design Strategy, Steensen Varming + Mott MacDonald, Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW), Freeman Ryan Design and AX Interactive.