Four Australian design teams have been short-listed in the competition to design and deliver the National Gallery of Victoria’s new contemporary art gallery.
The Victorian government has announced that design teams led by Open Weave, John Wardle Architects, Field, and Angelo Candalepas and Associates are the finalists for the development at 77 Southbank Boulevard in Southbank.
First promised in 2018, the contemporary art gallery will be part of a rebuild of Southbank's “arts spine” linking the Arts Centre and NGV International on St Kilda Road to Sturt Street.
The gallery confirmed that an Australian team would design the gallery after the state government committed funding in the 2020-21 budget.
Approximately $1.4 billion has been allocated for the development, making it Australia’s biggest cultural infrastructure project.
The gallery will be the largest facility of its kind at 30,000sq m and will showcase contemporary art, design, fashion and architecture of local, national and international significance.
The design competition was launched in January exclusively for Australian architects.
The four shortlisted designs have been selected by the jury for their “innovative design, consideration of sustainability and connection to place”.
Along with the NGV Trustee and chair Corbett Lyon, the jury includes state government architect Jill Garner and NGV director Tony Ellwood.
“NGV Contemporary will be central to Australia’s cultural identity and a place that all Victorians will be proud to call their own,” Ellwood said.
“This design competition offers an extraordinary opportunity to support our country’s local design and architecture sector.”
Recent additions to the jury in March included Dutch architect Francine Houben, founding partner of Mecanoo' Xu Tiantian, founding principal of DnA Architecture in Beijing; Australian architect Gerard Reinmuth, the founding director of Terroir; and Maree Clarke, an independent multi-disciplinary artist and curator.
Minister for creative industries Danny Pearson said the gallery would strengthen the NGV’s reputation for promoting local and international art and design.
“Before the pandemic, NGV welcomed more than 3 million visitors a year across its two gallery sites—St Kilda Road and Federation Square,” Pearson said.
“With the addition of the new gallery, they expect this number to increase to 4 million.”
The final designs will now be deliberated and the successful team is due to be announced in early 2022.
The new Melbourne Arts Precinct will also include a new 18,000sq m public space, to be designed by Hassell and So-il, and upgrades to the Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres building by NH Architecture and Snøhetta.
The masterplan transformation has been fast-tracked due to its importance in reviving interstate tourism, and has been modelled after New York’s Highline.
Later phases of the Melbourne Arts Precinct project will include a new building to house the Centre for Creativity.
The centre will be run by Arts Centre Melbourne with spaces and facilities for arts organisations, a new performing arts gallery and an expanded Australian Music Vault.