Mazes are often associated with the feeling of being lost, but, in the case of the National Galley of Victoria, you might see this as a good thing. As part of the 2017 NGV Architecture Commission, Garden Wall features a maze-like series of open-air passageways, corridors and rooms which are designed to help visitors rediscover the NGV's Grollo Equiset Garden.
Designed by Retallack Thompson and Other Architects, the structure's 260 walls shift from translucent to opaque, aiming to hide and reveal aspects of the garden, including sculptures and other visitors simultaneously. Each room will focus on a particular feature of the garden — such as Henry Moore's bronze sculpture Draped Seated Woman — to heighten visitors' encounter with various pieces.
"In order to make the NGV garden more visible, we first have to render it invisible," says architect David Neustein. "Garden Wall hides the garden and then gradually reveals it via a series of corridors, apertures and rooms. Our installation is less the walls themselves than the spaces in between."
Led by the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the project was selected out of 79 entries from across Australia, with those shortlisted assessed on quality, originality and viability. The NGV Architecture Commission has previously been designed by John Wardle Architects (2015) and M@ STUDIO Architects (2016), who last year designed this dreamy pink carwash inspired playground that recently won the Melbourne Prize at the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards. And this year we're in for another excuse to unleash our inner kidult.
The 2017 NGV Architecture Commission is now on display at NGV International from December 2017 as part of the inaugural NGV Triennial, a free, gallery-wide exhibition of international contemporary art and design.
Images: NGV/John Gollings.