Temple of architecture

The Temple of Boom won the annual architectural competition for the National Gallery’s in-house garden in Melbourne – a tribute to the Parthenon in Athens.

There’s something to be said for having your own garden – like the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne. In this very garden, the Grollo Equiset Garden, the currently selected project of the annual NGV Architecture Commission can be seen since November 2022; a competition that is aimed at Australian architecture firms and invites them to create site-specific, temporary works.

Little Parthenon

The winning project in 2022 is by Melbourne-based architects Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang. They created the Temple of Boom in the museum’s garden, a smaller version of the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, complete with colorful paintings.

Temple of Boom

This was created by Melbourne artist Manda Lane and her colleagues David Lee Pereira and Drez, adding layers of meaning to the ancient structure. “They were inspired by the vibrant colors and rich artistic embellishments that made up the original building,” the NGV commented.

Temple of Boom, Melbourne
Temple of Boom, NGV

While Lane and Pereira created floral and plant motifs, Drez painted the Doric columns. His opt-art constantly offers new perspectives when viewed and also gives the temple the appearance of a computer-generated rendering. Incidentally, the work of the three artists is not finished: they will continuously revise their artworks until the end of the project in October 2023.

Temple of Boom: Name is the program

The jury’s decision to select the Temple of Boom, he said, was intended to make the public aware of the impact of time on all architecture. “By showing this impact, the project demonstrates that perspectives on buildings and identities can evolve and change. Temple of Boom celebrates constant cultural change while seeking to broaden our understanding of the Parthenon as an enduring architectural and cultural beacon,” explains the National Gallery.

NGV, temple of Boom

Even the name of the project is programmatic: it refers to “musical vibrations and is intended as a meeting place and outdoor venue for a diverse program of NGV-curated performances and live music during the summer season,” according to the museum.

The sitter in the center

Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang of local studio NWMN built their fiberglass concrete temple around sculptor Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture The Seated One, which has been on display at Grollo Equiset Garden for decades. The Temple of Boom itself measures about a third of the original in Athens. This was chosen as the object, the architects say, because it is “a powerful symbol of Western civilization, democracy and perfection.”

Die Sitzende, Melbourne

Reflection desired

The homage is intended to stimulate reflection on how architecture is created, how it is given meaning. And how this meaning can change over time and across cultures. A planned virtual reality event as part of the project will also allow participants to virtually explore the actual Parthenon.

Temple of Boom ist das bereits siebente Projekt der NGV Architecture Commission. Seine Vorgänger waren unter anderem der In-Absence-Pavillon von Edition Office im Jahr 2020 oder der nebelgefüllte Doubleground, der 2018 von Muir und Openwork entworfen wurde.

Temple of Boom is the NGV Architecture Commission’s seventh project. Its predecessors included Edition Office’s In Absence Pavilion in 2020 and the mist-filled Doubleground, designed by Muir and Openwork in 2018.

Text: Michi Reichelt
Pictures: Sean Fennessy