2017 NGV Architecture Commission: Garden wall

Challenging the mythology of the open Australian landscape, the 2017 NGV Architecture Commission transforms the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden into a series of light-filled, maze-like passageways, corridors and rooms.

Designed by winners Retallack Thompson and Other Architects, the project entitled Garden wall divides the NGV garden using 119 white walls clad in a transparent woven mesh. The wall shifts from translucent to opaque depending on the time of day, light or the angle of view.

The sequence of outdoor rooms and pathways first hide and then gradually reveal highlights of the NGV garden as visitors navigate the space. Each room is designed to frame aspects and features found in the garden, enhancing visitors encounters with sculpture, furniture, trees and planting that is circumferenced by the walls.

Juxtaposing the poetic and tranquil nature of gardens with the global proliferation of walls and fences, Garden wall explores the barriers of the contemporary urban landscape. Referencing the legacy of Western Australia’s rabbit-proof fence as well as the generic suburban fencing that separates neighbours, the work invites audiences to consider the function and symbolism of borders as architectural elements in modern society.

“Now in its third year, the NGV’s annual Architecture Commission is a highlight of our summer calendar and will be a centerpiece of the inaugural NGV Triennial of contemporary art and design,” said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.

The NGV Architecture Commission is an annual open competition, which asks architects to consider innovative ways to activate one of Melbourne’s great civic spaces, the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden, with a thought-provoking work of temporary architecture.

As the 2017 NGV Architecture Commission coincides with opening of the NGV Triennial, a free gallery-wide exhibition of contemporary art and design from around the world, competitors were encouraged to explore the global and interdisciplinary nature of architecture as a creative enterprise.

Led by the NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the NGV Architecture Commission has previously been designed by John Wardle Architects (2015) and [email protected] STUDIO Architects (2016, which recently won the Melbourne Prize at the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards).

The 2017 NGV Architecture Commission Garden wall is now on display at NGV International until 15 April 2018 as part of the NGV Triennial. Further information is available from NGV.MELBOURNE.

The Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture is generously supported by the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation.

The NGV garden is supported by Loris Orthwein.

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