Melbourne-based [email protected] STUDIO Architects has won the 2016 NGV Architecture Commission for their playful interpretation of a suburban car wash facility.

An annual open design competition, the NGV Architecture Commission requires architects to consider innovative ways to activate one of Melbourne’s great civic spaces, the Grollo Equiset Garden, with a thought-provoking work of temporary architecture. Competitors are encouraged to offer a unique response to the site, explore new propositions about architecture and design, and demonstrate innovation in material use, fabrication, sustainability and recyclability.

Based on the dimensions of a real car wash in Blackburn, Melbourne, the winning entry, Haven’t you always wanted to run through all that foam at the car lovers?, transplants an object of everyday use and familiarity into the unfamiliar surroundings of an art gallery.

Thrilled to be selected as the winner of the 2016 NGV Architecture Commission, [email protected] STUDIO Architects said the competition provided a vital platform for architects to experiment and facilitate public discourse around the broader ideas that motivate the specific design explorations.

The winning submission by [email protected] STUDIO Architects uses a lightweight steel body with walls made of layered cricket netting and topped by a translucent polycarbonate roof, instead of the usual cement and fluorescent lighting.

Key design highlights include five ‘bays’ with lanes of bright pink astro turf complete with rubberised humps and road markings; a glittering ‘car wash’ sign illuminating the structure at night; and two bays with hanging curtains of red plastic, and another diffusing mist to recreate the car wash experience.

The installation will be used for events, talks, live music performances and more over spring and summer in addition to providing a place for Melburnians to gather, play and daydream.

The jury for the 2016 competition included Corbett Lyon (Lyons Architecture), Rachel Neeson (Neeson Murcutt Architects), Emma Williamson (CODA) and Fleur Watson (RMIT Design Hub), with Andrew Mackenzie of City Lab acting as competition advisor.

Led by the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the inaugural Architecture Commission was presented in 2015 by John Wardle Architects, who designed an exuberant pavilion of steel, timber and hand-formed textile elements.

The 2016 NGV Architecture Commission will be on display at NGV International from October 2016.

Image: Haven’t you always wanted to run through all that foam at the car lovers? by [email protected] STUDIO Architects for the 2016 NGV Architecture Commission.