The 2019 winner of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)’s Architecture Commission has been announced.
Contemporary artist, Yhonnie Scarce and Melbourne-based architecture studio, Edition Office, took out the top spot for the scheme titled In Absence.
The winner was announced as part of a one-night-only exhibition on 21 March, which was held as part of Melbourne Design Week at RMIT Design Hub.
The exhibition showcased a record number of submissions (100) in which many responded to social and cultural narratives relevant to architecture and the built environment.
Open to architects across the country, each year the NGV Architecture Commission is an open competition which invites creatives to develop a site-specific work of temporary architecture, activating the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden.
This year architects were encouraged to submit ideas focusing on multidisciplinary thinking, collaboration and audience engagement.
The winner was selected from five shortlisted design schemes by the jury, comprising Jill Garner (Chair, Principal of Garner Davis Architects and Victorian Government Architect), Corbett Lyon (co-founder of Lyons Architecture and Visiting Professor at MDS, NGV Trustee), Andrew Clark (Deputy Director, National Gallery of Victoria), Clare Cousins (Principal of Clare Cousins Architects, and national president, AIA) and Timothy Moore (Director, Sibling Architecture).
The winning architectural installation invites audiences to grasp the long history of Indigenous construction, design, industry and agriculture prior to the arrival of Europeans, including the permanent villages and dwellings of many Indigenous communities.
The dark and enigmatic exterior form of the timber tower conceals a textural and uplifting interior, composed of two dramatic internal voids adorned with thousands of black glass Yams by Yhonnie Scarce.
Yhonnie Scare said the pavilion celebrates the structures that were built long before the colonisation of Australia.
“There were many Aboriginal builders of ‘houses’, aquaculture infrastructure and long-term agriculture that has existed for thousands of years. This commission is an amazing opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the builders of such infrastructure and their enduring legacies.”
NGV Director Tony Ellwood AM also commented that this thoughtfully crafted space displays a highly developed narrative drawn from a successful collaboration between an Indigenous artist and non-indigenous architects.
“The project acknowledges Indigenous cultural practice and shared culture. It is a place for cultural exchange, an uplifting place, drawing from a difficult past,” he shared.
The NGV Architecture Commission 2019 will be on display at NGV International from November 2019. Entry will be free.
More information on the NGV Architecture Commission can be found here.