News & Media

Minister Tests New Look NGV Waterwall

The National Gallery of Victoria’s waterwall – one of Melbourne’s most-loved cultural icons – was tested today for the first time in four years as part of preparations for the Gallery’sre-opening later this year. Major Projects Minister Peter Batchelor visited the St Kilda Road site to oversee testing of the water recycling system, which is central to the new look of the waterwall. “Since 1968 the waterwall, together with the moats that surround the National Gallery of Victoria, has been one of our city’s most recognisable architectural landmarks,” Mr Batchelor said. “The new waterwall, positioned slightly in front of its former position, will continue to act as a filter between the chaos of the city and the sanctity of the space dedicated to art – the original objective of architect Roy Grounds. “Using a ground tank system to collect rainwater and run off, the entire moat and waterwall system will use recycled water and be totally environmentally sustainable. “The water from the tank will be pumped to the waterwall through a plant room that acts as a water treatment plant to ensure all filtration and reticulation standards are met.” The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) undertook tests on the hydraulics and fluid performance on a waterwall prototype to examine the proposed design improvements. It provided recommendations to the architect Mario Bellini Associati/Metier 3 and builders Baulderstone Hornibrook. Mr Batchelor said the redevelopment was part of the more than $10 billion of major projects being delivered across Victoria. “The reintroduction of the waterwall, together with the famous Leonard French designed stained glass ceiling, will see two of this state’s landmarks returned for all Victorians to enjoy,” he said. “Once complete, the reopened gallery will provide 25 per cent more exhibition space as well as new technical facilities to better conserve and protect the precious pieces of art held by the gallery. “The new-look NGV will complement other recent additions to Melbourne’s cultural landscape including Ngargee (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and the redeveloped State Library of Victoria.” The NGV redevelopment will also see the following additions: A new glass roof over the central courtyard, overlooked by a mezzanine restaurant; Six additional galleries inside the Coles and Murdoch courtyards; Upgraded catering and retail facilities; and, Improved lighting and environmental controls.Mr Batchelor said today’s short test of the waterwall was part of the preparatory works to be undertaken in the lead up to the reopening of the gallery. Artwork will begin to be delivered and installed in August, with the Gallery expected to formally reopen by the end of 2003.