Following an Australia-wide competition calling upon architects to conjure up the new NGV Contemporary for the city of Melbourne, a group led by Angelo Candalepas and Associates has been crowned the winner. The team’s entry was selected by a jury of esteemed industry experts and professionals, and was this week announced by the Victorian Government and the National Gallery of Victoria as the chosen proposal. Lead architect Angelo Candalepas says he hopes the winning design for the NGV Contemporary will “personally and emotionally” resonate with all members of Australia’s rich and diverse community, while deepening “their understanding of the possibilities of human creativity”.
Anticipated to be Australia’s largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design, first-look digital renders of the NGV Contemporary, created by Secchi Smith and Darcstudio, display an awe-inspiring and timeless design as imagined by the multidisciplinary group of creatives. Comprising 20 leading architecture, design and engineering firms from around the country, the team has proposed a powerful and sophisticated work of contemporary Australian architecture for the people of Victoria.
Winning design for NGV Contemporary unveiled
“Melbourne is the cultural capital of this nation and NGV Contemporary marks its next great offering to the world,” Angelo suggests, adding: “Art and design matters to all Australians. It speaks to who we are as a community.” The new 30,000-square-metre Victorian landmark will celebrate the central role of art and design in contemporary life and features dramatic arched entries, a spherical hall spanning more than 40-metres-high and more than 13,000 square metres of display space, including exhibition galleries, an expansive rooftop terrace and sculpture garden with stunning views of Melbourne.
The arrival experience is focused around the visually arresting omphalos (the Ancient Greek word for the centre of the earth): a central spherical hall that soars more than 40 metres upwards through all levels of the building, connecting to a lantern in the sky. Monumental in scale, this colossal orientating hall will be an enveloping gallery for the display of large-scale artworks, and will also allow visitors to move through the building via a spiralling pathway. As visitors travel through this space, they will be offered an unforgettable experience as they journey between the building’s levels, finally emerging on the spectacular rooftop terrace. The design also features a large cafe directly connected to the expanded public parkland and a new NGV design store.
Befitting a purpose-built, twenty-first century gallery, the proposal features large format and highly flexible exhibition spaces with state-of-the-art display systems enabling the NGV to present significant works of contemporary art and design of unprecedented ambition and scale. The extent of exhibition space will allow the NGV to present international blockbuster exhibitions while simultaneously offering a dynamic program of thematic and focused presentations drawn from the NGV’s rapidly expanding permanent collection of Australian and international contemporary art and design.
In providing a unique architectural landmark for the complex triangle-shaped site, the winning design provides a generous and highly accessible building. With pathways through the building that connect the parklands to Southbank, NGV Contemporary will unify the surrounding Melbourne Arts Precinct by connecting together the wider neighbourhood and reshaping the urban experience of this important part of the city. “This project signals Australia as a great contemporary nation with a significant creative force,” Angelo says. “This building will be a beacon of the culture of our time.”
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.
This project signals Australia as a great contemporary nation with a significant creative force,” Angelo says. “This building will be a beacon of the culture of our time.”
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