The Fox: NGV Contemporary

Client: Development Victoria
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Co-ordinates: 37°49’21.8”S 144°58’10.0”E
Status: Competition winning scheme
Project Team: Led by Angelo Candalepas and Associates with Aspect Studios, BoardGrove Architects, Richard Stampton Architects, Carr, Andy Fergus Design Studio, Steensen Varming + Mott MacDonald, Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW), Freeman Ryan Design and AX Interactive.
Visualisations: Darcstudio + Secchi Smith.
Words: NGV Official Media Release (2022)

art museum  arts precinct  exhibition  gallery  public space  

An awe-inspiring and timeless design by a multidisciplinary team led by Australian architect Angelo Candalepas and Associates is the winning design for The Fox: NGV Contemporary, Australia’s soon-to-be largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design.

Candalepas and their team of 20 leading architecture, design and engineering firms from around Victoria and Australia will create a powerful and sophisticated work of contemporary Australian architecture for the people of Victoria. This new Australian landmark will celebrate the central role of art and design in contemporary life. The extraordinary design draws visitors inside through its dramatic arched entries and into a wonderous and uplifting building featuring a more than 40-metre-high spherical hall.

The Fox: NGV Contemporary will have more than 13,000 square metres of dedicated display space for art and design, including exhibition galleries and an expansive rooftop terrace and sculpture garden with stunning vistas 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 gallery 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 architectural experience as they journey between the building’s levels, finally emerging on the spectacular dual-levelled roof top terrace.

The design also features a number of exciting architectural spaces that will complement the exhibition galleries, including a large café directly connected to the expanded public parkland and a new NGV design store. Making the most of the building’s unique location, the scheme boasts a breath-taking public rooftop terrace and sculpture garden accessible from a rooftop, restaurant and members’ lounge. The rooftop offers expansive vistas of Melbourne’s CBD, parklands and the Yarra Ranges never-before-seen by the general public.

Befitting a purpose-built, twenty-first century gallery, the design 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. Offering a rich and all-encompassing cultural experience, the design also offers educational studios, lecture theatre, artist studios and scientific laboratories for conservation of artwork.

With pathways through the building that connect the parklands to Southbank, The Fox: 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. In providing a unique architectural landmark for this complex triangular-shaped site, 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, as well as expansive views over the surrounding public gardens and Melbourne’s skyline.

The team led by Angelo Candalepas and Associates was selected following a nation-wide competition to find an Australian architectural team to design the new building. The winning design team for NGV Contemporary was selected by a jury of industry experts and professionals, including Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV; Jill Garner AM, Victorian Government Architect and Director, Garner Davis Architects; Francine Houben, Director of global architecture practice Mecanoo based in Delft; Corbett Lyon, NGV Emeritus Trustee and Director, Lyons Architecture (Jury Chair); Gerard Reinmuth, Director of TERROIR and Professor of Practice at UTS in Sydney; and Xu Tiantian, Director Founding Principal of DnA_Design and Architecture based in Beijing; and Special Advisor to the Jury Maree Clarke, a Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung woman and an independent multi-disciplinary artist, designer and curator.

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art museum  arts precinct  exhibition  gallery  public space