Rewind: ACCA’s new home

View the interview with Roger Wood (co-director with Randall Marsh of Wood Marsh Architects) to learn more about the building, its characteristics and intent.

By Hannah Mathews

“With its cascading, geometric facades like jagged, rusty-red cliffs, and its stark desert-like setting, the new ACCA designed by Melbourne architects Wood Marsh, does indeed seem like an ancient geological outcrop that has enigmatically emerged on Sturt Street Southbank. In design, size, prominence and cost, the centre could not be more removed from the ACCA of old – a charming cottage tucked away in a leafy corner of South Yarra.”[i]– Gabriela Coslovich, The Age, 2002

ACCA’s building has been likened to many things – the mysterious monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the fantastic landscapes of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi flicks, Plato’s mystical cave, the iconic land formation Uluru and the quintessential Aussie outback shed, amongst others.

Part of the former Kennett government’s spend on arts infrastructure (which also included the Melbourne Museum and Federation Square incorporating ACMI and the NGV Australia), ACCA’s new building was realised at a cost of a modest $11.3 million. The new building marked a turning point in the organisation’s history with increased potential for ambitiously scaled art projects, larger audiences and a significantly increased profile.

Comprising four galleries defined by varying dimensions and guiding angles (aptly described by Coslovich as “inverted swimming pools sloping from shallow to deep”), ACCA’s new exhibition spaces have inspired responses from artists that range from the ambitious and inquiring, to the monumental and playful. Constantly reinventing itself with the presentation of each exhibition, ACCA’s galleries have become known for their chameleon like quality.

Hannah Mathews is an Associate Curator at ACCA.

[i] G Coslovich, An art odyssey, The Age, 14 September 2002.