Winning Australian design for national gallery inspired by Ancient Greek concept


Award winning Greek Australian architect Angelo Candalepas and his team have won the national design competition for a new landmark contemporary art and design gallery for the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Australia reports Architecture AU magazine.

According to the report, the Candalepas winning design 'has a colossal 40-metre-high spherical hall at its centre, as well as dramatic arched entry ways facing onto a future public park.'

Angelo Candalepas said, “Melbourne is the cultural capital of this nation and NGV Contemporary marks its next great offering to the world. Art and design matters to all Australians: it speaks to who we are as a community. This project signals Australia as a great contemporary nation with a significant creative force. This building will be a beacon of the culture of our time.

The design of the large hall is based around the Ancient Greek concept of “omphalos,” which means “centre of the earth.” The hall will be surrounded by a spiralling pathway that will allow the visitors to ascend the various levels of the gallery. It will also be topped with a “lantern in the sky.”

Image: Darcstudios

“This dynamic and exciting design for NGV Contemporary creates a unifying civic space that all visitors will remember. With its uplifting and generous architecture, this design provides all Victorians will a timeless building for arts and culture that will be loved for generations,” said NGV director Tony Ellwood.




Angelo was born in Sydney and graduated from the University of Technology in 1992. He was made a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects in 2012.

In 1994 he established his own architecture studio which, in its first year of practice, won an international competition for housing in ‘The Point’, Pyrmont. The project was the recipient of several awards and in the following five years Angelo won and was shortlisted on several national and international competitions.

In 1999 he established Candalepas Associates. Since 1999 the company, under his leadership, has won a significant number of awards, including the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Sulman Medal for Public Architecture in 2009 and 2018 and the Frederick Romberg National Architecture Award in 2011, the Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture in 2016 and the Aaron M Bolot Award for Residential Architecture in 2011 and 2017. In 2016 he was also awarded the Premier’s Award for Architecture in NSW.

Angelo’s work has been acknowledged both in Australian and international exhibitions, journals and books. The work of the firm is published in the current edition of ‘10x10x3’ (New York Phaidon Press) as the work of one of the 100 most interesting emerging architectural offices in the world.

In 2003 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Architecture at UNSW and since then has taught architectural design and theory for the final year Master of Architecture course. Since 1996, Angelo has lectured regularly at various universities across Australia including the University of Technology and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, as well as universities in Newcastle, Queensland and Tasmania.

He has spoken at various national industry events, at the National Architecture Conference in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and other architecture forums in Auckland, Mexico, Mumbai and Athens.

Angelo was nominated President of the Australian Architecture Association in 2010 and in 2011 he was the Head Creative Director of the National Conference for the Australian Institute of Architects. In 2011 he was appointed the Head Curator for the ‘International Series Lectures’ run by the AIA.

Between 2008 and 2012 he was appointed by the Premier of the NSW State Government as an expert on the Design Excellence Review Panel for ‘Barangaroo’ and has sat on various advisory panels for the City of Sydney on other significant projects.

He is presently appointed as an advisor to the University of Sydney on a building procurement panel and a Nationally-elected Councillor for the Australian Institute of Architects, 2019.