MONA, Tasmania’s newest art museum

Feb 10, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Sean Fennessey
  • Architect Fender Katsalidis

David Walsh’s eagerly anticipated Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened to the public in Hobart in January, with doors to the Fender Katsalidis-designed museum opening on 22 January.

Sitting on the banks of the Derwent River, MONA is contained within a 3.5 hectare site 12km north of Hobart. Architect Nonda Katsalidis’ 9,500sqm building, clad in concrete and Corten steel panels, features roof gardens, a tennis court and walkways.

Inside, the building sinks below ground level. A spiral staircase and lift connect the entrance to the three subterranean levels, which have been carved our of the Triassic sandstone of the river bank. A second stairway, built in Corten, runs between the levels of the museum. Recycled Jarrah timber, sourced from a former wool storage shed in Western Australia, lines the floor on the middle level of the gallery, while the floors of the first and third level are polished concrete.

Walsh describes the building as “deliberately underwhelming”, with no neutral white cubes. Ceilings feature a concrete waffle design, highlighting the vast scale of the interior.

The gallery building has been designed around specific art pieces in Walsh’s collection, and also features a water covered gallery floor, a waterfall installation, a crimson velvet-lined gallery with gilded walls and two bars.

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