The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has revealed its 2018 Architecture Commission by Melbourne architecture practice MUIR and landscape architecture studio OPENWORK.

Doubleground is a collaboration between the two practices, inspired by key architectural elements of Sir Roy Grounds’s iconic NGV International building in the year of the building’s fiftieth anniversary.

Doubleground transforms the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden with a site-specific work of temporary architecture by literally raising sections of the landscape and creating chasm-like passageways for visitors to explore between the tilted embankments.  Architect Amy Muir and landscape architect Mark Jacques drew from memories of visiting the NGV as a young child to create a digital collage that uses architectural components from NGV International for the design blueprint.  

Including a canyon-like corridor, which references the triangular patterns of the NGV’s fa├žade and glass wall of the Great Hall, the installation features a decking area that recalls Grounds’s timber design for the Gallery foyer and a bamboo garden inspired by the building’s original Bamboo Court courtyard.

“2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the NGV International building and Doubleground is a concept that offers visitors a unique opportunity to reflect upon and reexamine the history and design of the Gallery as an integral part of Melbourne’s public realm,” says Tony Ellwood, director, NGV. 

“Now in its fourth year, the NGV Architecture Commission continues to be a highlight of the NGV's summer program, offering visitors a space for both playful interaction and quiet reflection.”

“The 2018 Architecture Commission provides an intervention that challenges the role of the NGV Garden,” says Amy Muir, director, MUIR. 

“Acknowledging the intent and architectural language of the original Roy Grounds building, the Commission seeks to bring the memories of place back into play. We hope that the commission will allow visitors to see the NGV Garden in a new way.” 

Following on from the 2017 winning design by Retallack Thompson and Other Architects, Doubleground was selected for its collaborative and multi-disciplinary design approach, which promotes the positive relationship between architecture, landscape and civic space.  

Occurring annually, the NGV Architecture Commission is an open national competition, which invites architects to create a site-specific work of temporary architecture, activating the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden.  

The NGV Architecture Commission is led by the NGV’s Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture. Previous winning projects have been designed by John Wardle Architects (2015) and [email protected] STUDIO Architects (2016) and Retallack Thompson and Other Architects (2017).  

The Commission will be on display at NGV International from November 2018 to April 2019.