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Media Release • 27 Aug 15

2015 Summer Architecture Commission: John Wardle Architects

A luminous pink hemisphere of 1350 hand-folded textile blooms will transform the NGV’s backyard when John Wardle Architects unveils the inaugural Summer Architecture Commission from 24 September. Over summer the structure will play host to live music performances by local artists, panel discussions, kids’ activities, picnics and more.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, ‘The Summer Architecture Commission is an exciting new annual initiative which allows emerging and established architects and designers to showcase innovative, temporary outdoor installations and structures in NGV International’s Grollo Equiset Garden. John Wardle Architects will launch the series with a wonderfully theatrical design for all Melburnians to enjoy over summer as a dynamic event space and place of retreat.

‘This project is one of many upcoming design and architecture-focused exhibitions and events, spearheaded by the gallery’s newly-established Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, including the reinvigorated Rigg Design Prize and Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Making, a major two-day international conference on contemporary craft and design practices,’ said Mr Ellwood.

Paying homage to iconic Melbourne performance venue the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, John Wardle Architects’ playful steel, timber and textile structure lifts dramatically on high arches to form an open-sided, shaded space.

Adaptable and evocative, the structure merges the digital and the handmade. The design utilises 3D modelling and cutting-edge engineering and fabrication systems to achieve the generous span of a lightweight steel structure. Beneath a high-tech outer layer of precision-engineered steel is a low-tech layer of timber and a mass array of 1350 hand-folded polypropylene elements. These 3D textile elements are individually suspended to create a textural pink skin that provides colourful shade by day and a unique nocturnal glow.

2015 Summer Architecture Commission: John Wardle Architects will be on display at NGV International from 24 September 2015 – 1 May 2016. Open daily, 10am–5pm. Free entry.

Architects John Wardle Architects (John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Mathew Van Kooy)
Engineer John Bahoric
Lighting Design Electrolight
Lighting System Light Project
Landscape Design Oculus
Fabrication and Assembly Engineering Directions
Textile Skin Megara
Paint Dulux

Members Exclusive: Garden Party
Fri 25 Sep, 1pm
Join us in the heart of the NGV Sculpture Garden for live music, sweet and savoury delights and champagne with other Members and their guests. Includes a private talk detailing the inaugural Summer Architecture Commission developed by John Wardle Architects.
Bookings required, $75 Members / $85 General

In Conversation: John Wardle, Ewan McEoin & John Bahoric
Sun 27 Sep, 3pm
Explore the process of designing and fabricating this iconic Summer Architecture Commission with the curator, architect and engineer behind this innovative work of temporary architecture in an afternoon conversation within the structure.
Speakers Ewan McEoin, The Hugh Williamson Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture; John Wardle, Principal, John Wardle Architects; and John Bahoric, Project Engineer.
Free, no bookings required.

Looking Forward: art, architecture and our environment
Sun 8 Nov, 1pm
By 2030, Melbourne is projected to become Australia’s largest city. This discussion will explore the effects of this growth and related contemporary issues including climate change. Architects, designers, artists and conservationists will examine the issues and intersections between culture and climate change, as well as our adaptations and responses to the environment through architecture, design and art. This event is held in collaboration with the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Free, no bookings required.

Kids’ workshop
Sun 8 November
Children will explore the connection between art, design and science through the environmentally-friendly material polypropylene, used by John Wardle Architects to create their site-specific structure. Through a making activity, children will discover the links between design and function, and the versatility of this material.
Free, no bookings required.

For further details on public programs, visit


The NGV wishes to thank Loris Orthwein and the Spotlight Foundation for their support of initiatives in the Grollo Equiset Garden in 2015/16.

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