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2012 National Architecture Awards: Sir Zelman Cowen Award

MONA — Museum of Old and New Art by Fender Katsalidis Architects Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

MONA is the result of a unique collaboration between David Walsh, self-styled art collector and philanthropist, and Fender Katsalidis Architects. Together they have created a powerful and entertaining experience for displaying and engaging with art and, by extension, one of the best examples in the country of the benefits of cultural tourism.

The building is carved into a peninsula of Hobart’s Moorilla Estate where its waffle concrete and Coreten steel container are already weathering inexorably into the landscape. A green roof and sculpture terrace re-establish the land’s original profile. The arrival and departure from the Derwent is dramatic and unforgettable.

The Roy Grounds heritage-listed house is repurposed as the museum entrance. A glass lift or spiral staircase theatrically delivers visitors to the lowest levels of a deep cutting where a rock-hewn corridor leads to a sandstone-walled space housing the museum. The raw materiality continues throughout, with the building’s sculptural envelope fully exposed internally.

Planning of gallery chambers and level interconnections is deliberately unconventional, eschewing a programmed circulation strategy for individual journeys of discovery.

The immediate and long-term impact of this museum on the city of Hobart, the state of Tasmania and indeed the nation is difficult to overstate.

Read a review of MONA, from Architecture Australia.


Fender Katsalidis Architects
Project Team
Nonda Katsalidis, Robyn Bartley, Milena Beames, Roland Catalani, Man Ching Chan, Coen Chin, Karl Fender, Daniel Goldin, Kathie Hall, Ashley Hunnisett, Andromeda Hutchins, Nicolina Iuliano, Shem Kelder, Wayne King, John Lamb, Jessica Lee, Andrea Mancuso, James Pearce, Falk Peuser, Anne Sophie Poirier, Tom Robertson, Rochelle Rosenwax, Eve Sayer, Natalie Stone, Andrew Walter,
Builder Hansen Yuncken Melbourne
Building surveyor Philip Chun & Associates, Braddon Building Surveying
Civil engineers Johnstone McGee Gandy Engineers and Planners
Council Glenorchy City Council
Design consultant Tandem Design Studio
Fire engineering Lake Young & Associates
Landscape architect Oculus Landscape Architecture & Urban Design
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall – Melbourne
Services engineer WSP Lincolne Scott
Structural engineering Felicetti
Superintendent Gallagher Jeffs Consulting
Technology consultant Aegres
Site details
Location 655 Main Road,  Berriedale,  Hobart,  Tas,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Culture / arts, Exhibitions
Project Details
Status Built
Client Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart
Website mona.net.au



Published online: 2 Nov 2012
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2012
Images: Courtesy of MONA


Architecture Australia, November 2012

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