Victoria Contemporary Design Competition Looks Local

The Victorian government and the National Gallery of Victoria have launched a design competition for what will be the largest public gallery of contemporary art and design in Australia.

Dubbed NGV Contemporary, the new gallery will sit as the cornerstone of a $1.46 billion state government plan to redevelop the Southbank arts precinct.

The 30,000sq m gallery, set to be built upon a 3,300sq m site at 77 Southbank Boulevard, was green lit late last year with the support of $500 million in funding following the state’s budget announcement.

The design competition, exclusively for Australian architects with a principal project design studio in Melbourne, will run across the year in four stages: a two-part expression of interest round then a two-part design round for eight finalists.

The successful design team and preferred design will be considered by the government and announced in late 2021.

The proposed gallery will connect to the Southbank arts precinct and St Kilda Road through an expansive 18,000sq m elevated public garden set to be co-designed by Melbourne architects Hassell and New York-based practice So-il.

The masterplan transformation has been fast-tracked due to its importance in reviving interstate tourism, and has been modeled after New York’s Highline.

▲ The gallery will connect to the Southbank arts precinct and St Kilda Road through an expansive 18,000sq m elevated public garden.
▲ The gallery will connect to the Southbank arts precinct and St Kilda Road through an expansive 18,000sq m elevated public garden.

NGV Contemporary will be an Australian-designed global icon once realised, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said.

“It will showcase the best of our creativity, create thousands of jobs and give people more open green space to relax and take in the best of our city.”

The gallery will showcase contemporary art, design, fashion and architecture of local, national and international significance,

Larger gallery spaces will accommodate a variety of the NGV’s exhibition program including Triennial, the architecture commission, large-scale contemporary and art commissions, fashion exhibitions, and major exhibitions of the world’s top artists and designers.

The Australian Institute of Architects Victoria state manager Tim Leslie said Australian architects deserved the chance to design the landmark project.

“Having Australia’s largest contemporary gallery designed by Australians is a tremendous outcome.

“Procuring local architectural talent, which Australia has in abundance, will have a vast multiplier effect on the benefits this landmark project will deliver, concentrating them locally where they are needed most,” Leslie said.

The redevelopment of the Melbourne Arts Precinct, masterplanned by ARM Architecture and TCL, was first announced in 2018.

Later phases of precinct’s billion dollar transformation will include a new building that will house the Centre for Creativity.

The centre will be run by Arts Centre Melbourne with spaces and facilities for arts organisations, new performing arts gallery and an expanded Australian Music Vault.

There are currently two buildings in the Melbourne Arts Precinct—the NGV International on St Kilda Road and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square.

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