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Fender Katsalidis completes subterranean ‘tunnel to nowhere’ at MONA

Nonda Katsalidis and Falk Peuser of Fender Katsalidis have completed a subterranean expansion of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart.

The new underground “wing,” dubbed Siloam, is a network of gallery spaces and chambers connected by tunnels. The name of the expansion is a reference to an ancient site in Jerusalem that is known for its underground water channel, constructed in the 7th or 8th centuries.

White House (2015) by Ai Weiwei in the Siloam expansion at Mona by Nonda Katsalidis and Falk Peuser of Fender Katsalidis.

White House (2015) by Ai Weiwei in the Siloam expansion at Mona by Nonda Katsalidis and Falk Peuser of Fender Katsalidis.

Image: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

David Walsh, founder of MONA, said, “The original Siloam was one of the first tunnels to be constructed from both ends. We dug our version of Siloam to connect two existing areas of the museum, filled it with art and made it greater than the sum of its parts.

“I liked the idea of approaching heaven from below and forcing our visitors to be part of a procession by traversing a tunnel to nowhere.”

Now open to the public, the wing contains works by artists Ai Weiwei, Alfredo Jaar, Oliver Beer and Christopher Townsend.

Siloam expansion at Mona by Nonda Katsalidis and Falk Peuser of Fender Katsalidis.

Siloam expansion at Mona by Nonda Katsalidis and Falk Peuser of Fender Katsalidis.

Image: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

The project is the latest in a string of MONA-related projects for Fender Katsalidis, beginning with the museum itself, the Pharos extension and a proposed hotel and casino. The practice also recently unveiled designs for the first stage of the redevelopment of a part of central Hobart that includes the historic Odeon Theatre as a new “cultural precinct” for Darklab, a MONA subsidiary.

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