NGV Contemporary will be a landmark gallery that celebrates the central role of art and design in contemporary life and culture. With more than 10,000 square metres of exhibition space, it will be the largest museum of contemporary art and design in Australia. Located in the heart of the re-imagined Melbourne Arts Precinct, NGV Contemporary will amplify Melbourne’s leadership position as a global centre of architectural excellence, art, design, and creative innovation.
The NGV Contemporary Design Competition seeks visionary, sustainable and dynamic design approaches from a multidisciplinary Australian design team, offering an unparalleled platform to showcase Australia’s world-leading design and architecture industries.
Expression of Interest (EoI) Part A is now open for those who have registered their interest. EoI Part A closes 2pm AEDT on Tuesday 30 March 2021.
Located at 77 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne, NGV Contemporary will be dedicated to showcasing contemporary art, design, fashion and architecture of local, national and international significance.
Rethinking how we engage with art
NGV Contemporary will be a place to explore new possibilities for the presentation and interpretation of art and design. It will celebrate what art and design can be, reward curiosity and open new ways of thinking about ourselves and the world in which we live.
Conversations and collaborations
NGV Contemporary will be a gallery that embraces change. It will take its lead from contemporary practitioners. It will be generative, dynamic and alive, rich with collaboration and encourage conversations to flow across boundaries as artists and designers respond to the world around them. The gallery will work with, and for, artists and designers, researchers, educators and students, government, industry bodies and the community.
Traditional Owners and First Nations Peoples
The NGV acknowledges all of the Traditional Owners of the place now called Victoria, and all First Nations Peoples living and working on this land. We celebrate the history and contemporary creativity of the world’s oldest living culture and pay respect to Elders – past, present and future.
The NGV is committed to engaging with the Traditional Owners of Southbank and First Nations Peoples working across the creative arts. Engagement with Traditional Owners and First Nations Peoples on the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation is already underway.
From the intimate to the epic
NGV Contemporary’s primary function is to give people an extraordinary experience of contemporary art and design. Major exhibitions, large-scale commissions, thematic shows, collection displays and solo presentations will offer a wide range of experiences. It will be a place to discuss, debate and reveal contemporary issues. It should also uplift and inspire — even wow – from the moment visitors walk in the door.
A civic and social space for all
NGV Contemporary will be open, inclusive, active and create spaces for a profound civic life. It will be a place where the social character of cultural experience can happen and encourage audiences to recognise the vital part that art and design play in shaping the world.
Beyond galleries – education, hospitality, retail and more
NGV Contemporary will be a purpose-built home for Victoria’s growing collection of contemporary art and design, and will provide a generous and holistic gallery experience that encompasses hospitality, retail, learning, participation, social interaction and relaxation. NGV Contemporary will connect artists, designers and audiences in a dynamic and evolving dialogue, now and into the future.
Connected to the wider precinct
NGV Contemporary will be a new landmark for Melbourne, presenting an extraordinary opportunity to re-envision the ways in which the gallery connects to the wider Melbourne Arts Precinct. The Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation project will unite Melbourne’s creative heart, improve connections between Southbank and the city and increase visitation across the precinct. It is an opportunity for the precinct to come together into a dynamic whole – a long-held aspiration for this corner of the city.
As a gallery of the 21st century, NGV Contemporary will plan for a resource-constrained world and a changing climate. Material choice and smart systems that produce energy and conserve water will ensure the gallery is resilient and adaptive.
The precinct and NGV’s enhanced presence
Melbourne Arts Precinct is home to one of the highest concentrations of arts, cultural and creative organisations anywhere in the world, and welcomes millions of visitors to more than 3000 performances and exhibitions each year.
The Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation is a city-shaping State government initiative that will cement Melbourne’s position as a global creative city, enhance our thriving creative and visitor economies, and benefit artists and creatives, visitors, residents and Melbourne’s international reputation. Exciting new attractions such as NGV Contemporary will drive further visitation to and engagement with the creative industries and cultural institutions.
A new garden for Melbourne
The cornerstone of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation is an expansive 18,000 square metres of new elevated public gardens designed by Hassell (AUS) and SO – IL (USA), with horticulture and planting design experts James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett (UK).
From NGV Contemporary in the south to Birrarung (Yarra River) in the north, this new public space will bring the excitement, colour and inspiration from inside theatres and galleries into the outdoors. Immersive gardens with integrated artworks, creative activations and performance and gathering spaces will complement the precinct’s new and existing facilities and bring the new public spaces to life.
Leadership in Australian design
The NGV is committed to Australian architecture and design. This commitment is expressed through an ambitious collecting and commissioning strategy, and through the presentation of ground-breaking design and architecture exhibitions and events including Melbourne Design Week and NGV Architecture Commission.
The competition celebrates Australia’s world-class architecture and design capabilities and invests significantly in local talent. Through design and construction NGV Contemporary will provide a long-lasting impact on the local design and architecture industry.
Searching for design excellence
A project of this prominence and importance to Victoria deserves the very best architecture and design Australia can produce. This is a city-shaping opportunity to deliver the highest possible quality for its users, the city and the environment.
Collaborative and cross-disciplinary
The NGV Contemporary Design Competition encourages creative collaboration and embraces diversity of expertise and experience. The design brief is layered and complex and requires a diverse range of design professionals to fully exploit its opportunities.
Local industry engagement
Now more than ever the local design and built environment economy needs support and encouragement. The competition calls for proposals that maximise the opportunities for this project to contribute positively to the local economy, industry and jobs. NGV Contemporary will be a global architectural landmark that demonstrates the skill and capability of the local design industry.
This Project is classified as a Strategic Project, which is subject to minimum local content requirements. Consistent with this, and in support of the local design industry, the Competition requires Competitors to commit to achieving a minimum percentage of fees under the Contract going directly to Australian firms, capping international participation.
Support for a wide range of design practices
NGV Contemporary requires significant experience and capability from those primarily responsible for its design and delivery. The competition also encourages collaborative engagement with specialists, emerging design leaders and innovators to meet NGV Contemporary’s future needs.
Andrew Mackenzie, CityLab, has been engaged as the NGV Contemporary Competition Advisor.
The NGV Contemporary Design Competition submissions will be reviewed by a jury of high profile and esteemed international and local design and architecture experts and professionals. The jury members Maree Clarke, Tony Ellwood AM, Jill Garner AM, Francine Houben, Corbett Lyon (Jury Chair), Gerard Reinmuth and Xu Tiantian will assess the submissions and make recommendations for Victorian Government consideration.
Artist, Curator and Art Consultant
Maree Clarke brings with her over 30 years’ experience working in the contemporary and cultural First Nations arts sector. She is a leading possum skin artist, also working with kangaroo teeth, echidna quills, glass and photography, and has been a curator at the Koorie Heritage Trust and Wyndham Art Gallery.
Tony Ellwood AM
Tony Ellwood AM is the Director of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and a leading figure in the Australian arts sector. He began his career as an Aboriginal Art Coordinator at Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Kununurra; then as a Curator at the NGV. He was Director, Bendigo Art Gallery; Deputy Director – International Art, NGV and Director of the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) prior to returning to the NGV as Director in 2012. Under Tony Ellwood’s stewardship, the National Gallery of Victoria has become the most visited gallery in the country.
Jill Garner AM
Victorian Government Architect and Principal, Garner Davis Architects
Jill Garner AM became the Victorian Government Architect in 2015, stepping into a role as public advocate for architecture and design after more than twenty years in practice. Her practice – Garner Davis Architects – has received numerous industry awards for works ranging from residential to public buildings. As a design advisor in government, she strongly promotes the value of contextual, integrated design thinking and a collaborative approach across design disciplines.
Founding Director, Mecanoo
Francine Houben is the Founder and Creative Director of Mecanoo architecten. Her work ranges from theatres, universities, office buildings and libraries to neighbourhoods, housing, masterplans and parks. Each design is considered in terms of its cultural setting, place and time. As such, Mecanoo treats each project as a unique design statement embedded within its context and orchestrated specifically for the people who use it. She has held professorships at the Technical University Delft, the Netherlands as well as at Yale University and Harvard University in the USA.
Corbett Lyon, Chair
NGV Trustee and Director, Lyons Architecture
Corbett Lyon is an Australian architect, art patron and academic who lives and works in Melbourne. He is a founding director of Melbourne architectural firm Lyons. Lyons has designed many award-winning institutional and public buildings in Australia. He is a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and has been a member of the Victorian Government’s Design Review Panel.
Director TERROIR, Professor of Practice, UTS
Gerard Reinmuth is the Founding Director of TERROIR, an architectural practice based in Sydney, Hobart and Copenhagen. Projects include the Tornhuset Maritime Museum, Penguin Parade Visitor Centre and soon to be completed Puffing Billy Railway Visitor Centre at Lakeside. Gerard is a Professor of Practice at the University of Technology Sydney and was the Creative Director of the National Architecture Conference in 2009 and Creative Director for the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture (Australian Pavilion).
Founding Principal, DnA
Xu Tiantian is an architect based in Beijing. She received her Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard before working as a senior architect at OMA in Rotterdam. Since opening DnA _Design and Architecture she has achieved a strong reputation in China with numerous cultural and educational projects. She received the WA China Architecture Award, the Young Architects Award from The Architectural League New York and the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture.
The NGV Contemporary delivery agency is Development Victoria.
Registration for the NGV Contemporary Design Competition is now closed.
The NGV Contemporary Design Competition incorporates a two-part Expression of Interest (EoI) and a two-part design competition. The EoI will focus on task appreciation, methodology, team, track record and risk compliance. The design competition will focus on design responses.
Registrants will be invited to form teams to participate in EoI Part A. Services sought at EoI Part A include architecture, interior design, urban design, and landscape architecture.
A target of twelve competitor teams will be longlisted to progress to EoI Part B, where competitor teams will include sustainability and engineering services disciplines (structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and fire engineering).
At the completion of EoI Part B, a target of eight competitor teams will progress to first stage of the design competition. Competitor teams participating in the first stage of the design competition will present an initial design concept.
A target of up to four competitor teams will be selected to progress to the second stage of the design competition. Competitor teams participating in the second stage of the design competition will undertake to more fully develop their design concepts. A positive guidance workshop will be held midway through this stage.
At the completion of the second stage the jury will provide their advice for Victoria Government consideration with a successful design team and preferred design announced in Summer 2021/22.
EoI Part A is now open and closes on 30 March 2021
EoI Part B commences May 2021
Design Competition Stage One commences third quarter 2021
Design Competition Stage Two commences third quarter 2021
NGV Contemporary design team announced in summer 2021/22
An honorarium is provided to all competitors selected to progress to Stages One and Two of the design competition.
To be eligible to participate in the NGV Contemporary Design Competition, competitor teams must meet all the below listed eligibility criteria.
A single architecture practice may fulfil all requirements, alternatively two or more practices may separately fulfil the requirements. The eligibility criteria will be assessed as part of the EoI process.
Victorian Participation Requirement
In addition to the eligibility criteria, an Australian competition is defined as having a minimum percentage of contract fees for design services going directly to Australian businesses and remaining onshore. Australian businesses are companies that have been registered in Australia for more than 12 months.
Yes. An international Architecture practice can participate as part of a Competitor Team, however this Project is classified as a Strategic Project, which is subject to minimum local content requirements. Consistent with this, and in support of the local design industry, the Competition requires Competitors to commit to achieving a minimum percentage of fees under the Contract going directly to Australian firms, as such international participation is capped.
Any international practice will need to partner with an Australian architecture practice.
As the NGV already has extensive resources and experience in this area, and the focus of the competition is on the procurement of design services, it is recommended that competitor teams do not include independent artists, curators or arts consultants.
A competitor shall be the person, body corporate or other legal entity nominated in the submission as the proposed consultant. To the extent that the competitor is comprised of a joint venture, consortium, partnership or group of legal entities, a competitor includes all of the persons, bodies corporate or other legal entities that form part of such joint venture, consortium, partnership or group of legal entities. Details of the legal structure of the competitor must be provided as part of the submission.
It is each party’s responsibility to either form a team or join an existing team. The competition organisers have no role in assisting this process.
Design lead and anchor practices can only enter the competition in one team at EoI Part A. EoI Part B competitor team members (sustainability and engineering services disciplines) must not be bound into exclusivity agreements.
The Expression of Interest phase commences in March 2021. The successful design team is expected to be announced in summer 2021/22.
The NGV Contemporary Design Competition incorporates a two-part Expression of Interest (EoI) and a two-part design competition. The EoI will focus on task appreciation, methodology, team, track record and risk compliance. The design competition will focus on design. See About the Competition above for more detail.
Services sought at EoI Part A include architecture, interior design, urban design, and landscape architecture.
Services sought at EoI Part B include but are not limited to sustainability and engineering services disciplines (structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and fire engineering).
An independent peer Jury made up of Australian and International design professionals will assess the submissions and make recommendations for Victorian Government consideration.Jury membership will be advised ahead of the commencement of the Expression of Interest.
The Australian Institute of Architects and the project team are working closely together to review the final competition documentation with a view to competition endorsement.
Competitors participating in Stage One and Stage Two of the design competition will be provided an honorarium. Honoraria amounts will be released at Expression of Interest phase.
Please refer to the 2020-21 State Budget announcement for the overall investment in the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation – Phase 1. A more detailed budget will be provided to competitors later in the competition process.
Development Victoria is the delivery agency for NGV Contemporary.
Hassell (AUS) and SO – IL (USA), with horticulture and planting design experts James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett (UK) have been appointed as the design team of the public spaces in the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation.
The location of the site is final. Suggestion of alternative sites should not be entertained nor included in any proposals.
Information about the NGV Contemporary Design Competition is confidential and only intended for Australian registered practising Architects who could form part of a team.
To participate in the Design Competition you will need to join a team with an architect that has already registered. It is each party’s responsibility to either form a team or join an existing team. The competition organisers have no role in assisting parties.
Please note the following FAQ updates:
Amendedment to FAQ R4, CRC6
New FAQ R7, CRC4, CRC5, CRC10, CRC11
CRC19 & 20 added