National Gallery of Victoria

Architect: Roy Grounds 1968

City of Melbourne | C55

Building Description

Founded in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public art gallery. The building itself is a major work by the noted Australian architect Roy Grounds, and was the first major public building to be constructed in Victoria in the fifty years following the First World War, and the first entirely new art gallery to be constructed in Australia after the Second World War. It set new standards for exhibition layout, art storage and conservation, and represented a new era in the arts and public architecture. The large palazzo-like gallery building is rectangular in form with three internal courtyards providing light and external views to surrounding galleries. The bluestoneclad, reinforced concrete building is relieved only by a large entrance archway and a bronze Victorian coat of arms by Norma Redpath on the front façade. The floating roof, with upturned eaves, is separated from the walls by a continuous band of high clerestory windows. A moat surrounds the entire building. The water theme is continued at the entry where a flow of water runs down a glass screen, now known as the Water Wall. The internal Great Hall is four storeys high and features an abstract ceiling of multi-coloured glass by the artist Leonard French.

What's On

From 1968 to Now: The NGV on St Kilda Rd.
Saturday 27 Jul, 11am.
Discover the story behind the NGV’s relocation to St Kilda Rd in a special tour with NGV Guide Brian Martin.

Architecture Installations at the NGV.
Sunday 28 Jul, 11am–12.30pm.
join NGV’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, Ewan McEoin, for a guided tour of three current architecture installations at the gallery. Including John Wardle Architects’ Somewhere Other at The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia and Viewing China an installation of porcelain from the NGV Collection within a custom architectural display by New York based SO – IL Architects. Lastly in the NGV Garden meet the designers of Doubleground, part architecture, part landscape Doubleground brings together memories of Grounds’ original design for the NGV International, opened in 1968.


180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Melbourne VIC

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