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'Game-changer': Melbourne to build nation's largest contemporary art gallery

By Joe Hinchliffe
3 June 2018 — 9:01am

Melbourne is set to become home to a Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery as part of a major transformation of the Southbank arts precinct.

Melbourne is set to house Australia's largest contemporary art gallery as part of a major transformation of the South Bank arts precinct.

Premier Daniel Andrews, who will announce the gallery on Sunday morning, described the project as a once-in-a-generation transformation of the city's arts precinct that would deliver new "public space, better theatres and thousands of local jobs and attract millions of visitors''.

“It’s a game-changer for our city that will cement Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia,” the premier said.

A spokeswoman for the premier said the centerpiece of the redevelopment would be the new gallery, which is being called 'NGV Contemporary'.

"But it's much more than that," she said.

18,000 square metres of new and renewed public space and make it easier for pedestrians to get from Southbank to St Kilda Road.

"Lots of land is being opened up for public space which will transform area between the Southbank restaurants and the existing arts precinct of the National Gallery of Victoria and Arts Centre.

"It will be an entire redevelopment of the whole precinct."

The spokeswoman said the "massive project" would be kick-started $208 million from the Andrews Government to plan and design "a world-leading contemporary gallery".

She said the money was being used to buy the former Carlton & United Breweries building and to begin design-phase work.

The state government would then be calling on philanthropic donations. Other sources of funding are at this stage unknown.

Under the plans, a new hub at 1 City Road behind the Arts Centre, currently a fenced-off block filled with shipping containers, will also become home to the Australian Performing Arts Gallery, an expanded Australian Music Vault, administrative, education and research facilities, and a new centre for independent arts organisations.

The area behind the Arts Centre would be transformed into a 'creative hub' and public space opened up as part of the proposed redevelopment.

The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs during construction, according to the government, including 260 ongoing jobs. It would also attract an extra three million visitors each year.

According to a government statement, the Arts Centre and NGV together attract more than six million visitors every year – twice as many as the MCG.

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Are there any whispers of a design competition yet?
Nothing concrete yet, though the landscape architects for the elevated parks were announced this week. Here's a quote from the press release and a link to the thread, where you can read more about the park plans.

"The redevelopment of Melbourne’s Southbank arts precinct, which will include two new buildings as well as renewed public spaces, is masterplanned by ARM Architecture and TCL. Architects have not yet been appointed for the buildings."
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