Architects called for landmark Arts Precinct site

NGV Contemporary will replace CUB’s former headquarters at 77 Southbank Boulevard.

Development Victoria has launched a design competition for NGV Contemporary – set to replace the former Carlton & United Breweries headquarters at Southbank.

The 1.8 hectare park will connect the National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, NGV Contemporary, Centre for Creativity and Yarra River.

The proposed 30,000 square metre complex will join a 1.8 hectare park marketed as “the cornerstone” of a Melbourne Arts Precinct renewal.

The proposed Centre for Creativity opposite Arts Centre Melbourne.

The public space would be constructed on part of Sturt Street, extending gardens west of the National Gallery of Victoria – Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum.

Both projects are part of the revitalisation’s first stage.

Another building, the Centre for Creativity is earmarked for a second phase; it will replace the Testing Ground site opposite Arts Centre Melbourne’s spire.

Only registered Australian architects can apply to design NGV Contemporary and the principal’s studio must be Victorian.

The project will fill a 1375 sqm island parcel, 77 Southbank Boulevard – presently containing a c1990 six storey structure with 14,177 sqm of area: offices (11,679 sqm), showrooms (1731 sqm) and the Joan Hammond Hall (707 sqm).

NGV Contemporary

The NGV Contemporary design competition was launched last week – a month after The Ian Potter Foundation pledged $20 million toward construction costs.

The state government agreed to pay CUB parent AB InBev $95.5 m for the property three years ago.

Last May it allocated $150m to settle that deal and for site and planning works associated with the wider renewal.

Two months ago it upped funding to $1.46b – to cover the museum’s speculated $459m building cost and the park (story continues below).

The Melbourne Recital Centre (middle), across the road from the proposed park and NGV Contemporary.

Upon completion in 2025 NGV Contemporary will contain an expanded Australian Music Vault, offices for small and medium organisations and restaurants.

A third of it – some 10,000 sqm – will be gallery space.

The decision making process

Development Victoria described the competition as “a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a visionary work of architecture and a global landmark for Victoria”.

It has called for parties to register by March 4.

There are four decision making stages: to introduce any development consortium; shortlisting (to four), initial design then concept development.

A jury will be announced but to date includes NGV trustee and director Corbett Lyon, who will also chair, gallery director Tony Ellwood and Jill Garner, a state government designer and principal with Garner Davis Architects.

A consortium to deliver NGV Contemporary will be appointed by early next year.

More than 3000 performances and exhibitions are held annually within Melbourne Arts Precinct.

The garden, penned by Hassell and SO-IL, will extend to the Yarra River.

Share or Recommend article

Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of