Designs for Australia’s largest art gallery have been unveiled.

The Victorian Government has announced that a design by Angelo Candalepas and Associates has been selected as the winning design for the new NGV Contemporary, which when open will house the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection of contemporary art and design.

Candalepas will work with 20 architecture and engineering firms to complete the detailed design.

A key feature of the design revolves around dramatic arched entries which are designed to draw visitors inside into an uplifting building which features a spherical hall of greater than 40 meters in height.

Known as an omphalos (the Ancient Greek word for the centre of the earth), this is a central spherical gallery which soars upwards through all levels of the building and connects to a lantern in the sky.

This will serve as an orientating hall and an enveloping gallery for the display of large-scale artworks. It will also allow visitors to move through the building via a spiraling pathway.

Other features include:

  • Architectural spaces that will complement exhibition galleries. These include a large café which will be directly connected to expanded public parkland along with a new NGV design store.
  • A public rooftop terrace and sculpture garden which will be accessible from a rooftop, restaurant and member’s lounge and which will offer expansive vistas of Melbourne’s CBD, surrounding parklands and the Yarra Ranges.
  • Large format and flexible exhibition spaces with state-of-the-art display systems.
  • Sufficient exhibition space (13,000 sqm) to enable the NGV to presents international exhibitions whilst also simultaneously offering thematic and focused presentations drawn from the gallery’s permanent collection of Australian and international collection.
  • Educational studios, a lecture theatre, artists’ studios and scientific laboratories for conservation of artwork.
  • Pathways though the building that connect the parklands to Southbank in a way which unifies and connects the surrounding Melbourne Arts Precinct.
  • An eastern façade which 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 new gallery is part of a $1.7 billion transformation of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct which will also include extensive restoration of the State Theatre.

More than 11,000 jobs will be created during construction and the gallery will generate hundreds of ongoing creative sector jobs when it opens in 2028.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said the new building will help to enhance Melbourne’s profile on the global stage.

“We are adding Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery to an already amazing precinct – we’ll deliver a gallery and experiences that make Victorians proud,” Pearson said.

“NGV Contemporary will be Australian designed and Australian made, creating thousands of local jobs and becoming an iconic reference for our great city on a global stage.”