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Temple of Boom riffs on a classic with contemporary flair

The NGV Architecture Commission has just opened for 2022 and it is classical, colourful and joyous in its homage to one of the world’s ancient wonders.

Temple of Boom riffs on a classic with contemporary flair

Designed by the Melbourne-based architects Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang, Temple of Boom is their first major public commission – a major scoop and a development on their largely residential design work. 

Their winning NGV Architecture Commission concept is a riff on the global architectural icon of the ancient Greek Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. This apex symbol of Western civilisation, democracy and indeed perfection has been re-interpreted by Newman and Tsang into an expressive and statuesque gathering place.

NGV Architecture Commission - Temple of Boom

A temporary destination that speaks uniquely to its place and culture. While it simultaneously expands our understanding of the original Parthenon (the architects have referenced its original proportions and recreated these in a 1:3 transformation), it also speaks to the enduring beauty and timelessness of a global architectural icon.

To wander between the columns is to experience a sense of wonder and delight. This is heightened by its location, juxtaposed against the Brutalist architecture of the NGV International, and sitting neatly atop the podium of last year’s pond[er] (Taylor Knights with James Carey).

NGV Architecture Commission - Temple of Boom

It’s also heightened by the decorative and artistic designs embellishing the structure. Here, the architects have drawn inspiration from the colourful and artistic works that once covered the original building over two-thousand years ago. To mark its debut, Temple of Boom carries floral motifs and optical illusions by contemporary artists including Drez, Manda Lane, and David Lee Pereira.

The result, you can’t help but admit, is breathtaking.

NGV Architecture Commission - Temple of Boom

Temple of Boom has been no small undertaking for Newman and Tsang, who work largely in residential design. But they has previously pitched for the architecture commission and this year were gratified to be awarded the opportunity of bringing their concept to life.

This has involved not only conceptual planning, but also structural and fabrication planning, and end-of-life planning. Notably the entire structure been designed for disassembly or for its afterlife.

Melbourne is renowned for its live music scene and the Temple of Boom is most certainly a homage to this. Taking its name from the vibrations of music, the temple will be a community meeting place and an outdoor venue for performances, programs and music throughout summer.

Presented in partnership with the Hellenic Museum Melbourne, audiences will be able to alight between the columns to engage with panel discussions, performances, and a VR experience transporting you to The Parthenon – a virtual tour around the Acropolis in Greece. It’s fitting experience to have from this joyous re-interpretation of the original.

Temple of Boom is on display at NGV International, in Melbourne, until August 2023.

NGV Architecture Commission

Sean Fennessy

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