MONA Museum of Old and New Art

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View of MONA as if arriving by boat. MONA — Museum of Old and New Art by Fender Katsalidis Architects, Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award.

View of MONA as if arriving by boat. MONA — Museum of Old and New Art by Fender Katsalidis Architects, Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award. Image: Leigh Carmichael

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Stunning interiors.

Stunning interiors. Image: Leigh Carmichael

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Quirky details.

Quirky details. Image: Leigh Carmichael

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Another highlight from Australia’s recent National Architecture Awards,Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) by Fender Katsalidis Architects won the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for public architecture. Here’s what the jury had to say about this architectural goodie:

“MONA is the result of a unique collaboration between David Walsh, self-styled art collector and philanthropist, and Fender Katsalidis Architects. Together they have created a powerful and entertaining experience for displaying and engaging with art and, by extension, one of the best examples in the country of the benefits of cultural tourism.

The building is carved into a peninsula of Hobart’s Moorilla Estate where its waffle concrete and Coreten steel container are already weathering inexorably into the landscape. A green roof and sculpture terrace re-establish the land’s original profile. The arrival and departure from the Derwent is dramatic and unforgettable.

The Roy Grounds heritage-listed house is repurposed as the museum entrance. A glass lift or spiral staircase theatrically delivers visitors to the lowest levels of a deep cutting where a rock-hewn corridor leads to a sandstone-walled space housing the museum. The raw materiality continues throughout, with the building’s sculptural envelope fully exposed internally. Planning of gallery chambers and level interconnections is deliberately unconventional, eschewing a programmed circulation strategy for individual journeys of discovery. The immediate and long-term impact of this museum on the city of Hobart, the state of Tasmania and indeed the nation is difficult to overstate.”


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