National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary Competition

Grimshaw Architects / Melbourne, Australia

The Open Weave proposal for the NGV Contemporary Design Competition presents a vision for a 21st-century museum that is active and collaborative, with a public that is diverse and multi-valent. It embodies the values of an institution defined by inclusion, fluidity, and transparency. Shortlisted as a finalist, the proposal champions contemporary art through its extension of layered experiences and relationships with the landscape, the city, and its curation.

The design is shaped by a response to the themes of place, relationship, repair, experience, and openness. In step with contemporary art, notions of icons or landmarks are reimagined through action, experience, and visual identity – stemming from architecture’s role in connection to Country, the natural ecosystem, and its urban environment. The design vision imagines transformative ground planes at lower and upper ground levels that connect nature and culture, imbued with a sense of place. The design extends the public realm into NGV Contemporary and brings nature, art, design, performance, and hospitality to the edges of the built form.

Open Weave is a collective that was assembled for the purpose of the NGV Contemporary Design Competition. The team was underpinned by Grimshaw as the anchor practice to support and facilitate Australian design leadership and was led by local architectural practice Baracco + Wright in the key role of design steward. The team was supported by the multidisciplinary practices of McGregor Coxall, Winwood Mckenzie,  Foolscap, Relative Projects, 20-20 Studio, Flux Consultants, AECOM, Eckersley O’Callaghan, 2×4 Inc, and Paul Memmott.



Site Area

.1 ha


  • Competition


  • Concept Design
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Aerial view of the Melbourne cityscape with numerous high-rise buildings, including a prominent skyscraper with a dark exterior, surrounded by lush green parks and open spaces. The skyline extends into the horizon under a partly cloudy sky, near the renowned National Gallery of Victoria.
A modern, multi-story building with a glass facade and a large, open space with greenery and steps leading to it. People walk and gather outside the National Gallery of Victoria. To the right, a tall, slender tower can be seen in the distance. Trees and rocks decorate the landscape in this contemporary competition setting.
A modern building with a sheer, flowing external curtain covers a glass facade. People sit at outdoor tables, while others walk nearby. The area is landscaped with wild grasses and flowers. A sign reading "KANS" is partially visible at the entrance, reminiscent of the style seen in National Gallery of Victoria's contemporary competition entries.
A spacious, modern gallery with concrete walls and high ceilings features a large art installation of numerous black birds suspended in mid-air. Visitors stand and walk around, admiring the exhibit. Natural light streams in from large windows at the National Gallery of Victoria, illuminating the space.
The modern and spacious lobby of the National Gallery of Victoria features floor-to-ceiling windows, a prominent staircase, elevators, and a ticket counter. Suspended sculptures of birds in flight decorate the ceiling, while a large banner advertises a contemporary exhibit. The gallery is bustling with visitors.