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Melbourne’s Contemporary Art Museum Will Rival the Tate Modern

The Urban Developer Editorial | 1:52

Melbourne’s Contemporary Art Museum Will Rival the Tate Modern

Tim Gibson

11 December 2020

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MELBOURNE is set to construct Australia’s largest cultural infrastructure project with a recently announced state budget giving the go-ahead for an overhaul of the city’s creative arts precinct.

The first stage of the development includes an 18,000 square-metre public garden designed by Melbourne-based HASSELL and New York practice SO-IL.

These gardens will include spaces for outdoor performances, gatherings, installations and festivals, as well as providing a much needed “green lung” for the city’s Southbank - one of the most densely populated areas in the country, home to several of Australia’s tallest buildings.

The big draw of the project however is the new National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary (NGVC), a massive 30,000 square-metre gallery that will be more than twice as large as Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and nearly as big as London’s famous Tate Modern.

Above: The new 18,000 square metre public garden (image courtesy of HASSELL + SO-IL).

"There's been no compromise in terms of scale," Tony Ellwood, director of the NGV, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We could have gone with 1000 different variables, but we pitched (to the government) a building that will last 100 years."

Ellwood reiterated that the scale of the project is necessary and meant to convey their intentions to create a world-class landmark for the city.

Apart from the gallery, the building will also house two to three cafes, a design store, a large welcoming foyer and an education wing with lecture theatres.

Melbourne’s Arts Centre will also undergo major renovations while the entire project will create more than 5,000 local construction sector jobs, helping to boost the state’s economic recovery following COVID-19.

Above: How thew precinct will fit into the city (image courtesy of the state government of Victoria).

“This project will rejuvenate our creative heart, bringing visitors and energy back to Melbourne as we rebuild,” said Premier Daniel Andrews in a press release.

So far USD $1.04BN has been pledged by the state government, while the NGV is mounting the biggest philanthropic push in its history to raise the rest of the funds needed.

A design for the museum has yet to be finalised.

Melbourne is not alone in announcing major new museum projects, Perth recently completed the WA Museum, while Shenzhen is starting work on ten new cultural facilities which will include a natural history museum and a science and technology museum.

Header image courtesy of HASSELL + SO-IL.

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