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Competition for design of Melbourne’s NGV Contemporary looks to Australian architects

Competition for design of Melbourne’s NGV Contemporary looks to Australian architects
February 5, 2021

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.

Dedicated to showcasing contemporary art, design, fashion and architecture of local, national and international significance, the new NGV Contemporary gallery will sit as the cornerstone of a $1.46 billion plan to redevelop Melbourne’s Southbank arts precinct.

The 30,000 metre² gallery, set to be built upon a 3,300 metre² site at 77 Southbank Boulevard, was approved late last year with the support of $500 million in funding following the Victorian Government’s budget announcement.

In December it also secured a $20 million grant from The Ian Potter Foundation - the largest ever commitment made by the charity in its 56 years of operation.

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 Victorian Government and announced in late 2021.

The proposed gallery will connect to the Southbank arts precinct and St Kilda Road through an expansive 18,000 metre² 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 modelled after New York’s Highline.

Explaining the significance of an Australian-designed NGV Contemporary, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated “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 initial advice on the competition states “the NGV Contemporary Design Competition seeks visionary, sustainable and dynamic design approaches for a landmark building that celebrates the central role of art and design in contemporary life and culture.

“Unusually, eligibility is restricted exclusively to Australian architectural teams, offering an unparalleled platform to showcase Australia’s world-leading design and architecture industries.”

Following registration, there will be a two-part expression of interest phase where registrants will outline their capabilities before a list of candidates is then invited to participate in the design phase of the competition.

A successful design team and preferred design is expected to be announced in summer 2021/22.

Registrations for the NGV Contemporary Design Competition are now open at

Images: Concepts for the NGV Contemporary. Credit: HASSELL + SO-IL.

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7th January 2021 - NGV to receive $20 million grant from for new contemporary art gallery

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14th December 2020 - Sydney’s redeveloped Walsh Bay Arts Precinct welcomes back performing arts companies

25th November 2020 - Victorian 2020/21 Budget allocates $1.46 billion for Arts Precinct transformation

20th November 2020 - Australian Government announces unlocking of arts rescue funds and venue capacity increases

10th November 2020 - Victorian Arts and Cultural centres to transform into COVIDSafe venues for festivals and events

13th October 2020 - Research shows impact of COVID-19 on arts and creative sector workers’ mental health

7th October 2020 - Victorian Government delivers $7.85 million to support arts and cultural organisations

2nd September 2018 - Architects appointed to reimagine Arts Centre Melbourne

28th July 2018 - MoMA at NGV exhibition attracts more than 100,000 visitors in first month

3rd June 2018 - Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery to open as part of expanded NGV

1st April 2018 - NGV Triennial exceeds records with one million visitors

10th July 2017 - NGV’s Van Gogh hits record 420,000 visitors

2nd June 2016 - Masterpieces from New York’s MoMA coming to NGV Melbourne

6th May 2016 - 399,127 visitors attend Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition at NGV

11th February 2016 - NGV acquires highly-prized fashion collection

9th September 2015 - Albury Museum aims for the Bilbao effect

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