[National Portrait Gallery
Johnson Pilton Walker
National Portrait Gallery
Johnson Pilton Walker
The National Portrait Gallery is an important and worthy addition to the national capital and provides a well-resolved sequence of carefully modulated spaces, well suited to the display of art.
The entry is positioned to capture visitors, both those from King Edward Terrace and those coming across the elevated workway from the National Gallery. A sheltered forecourt, then a low-scaled storm porch, presage the handsome Gordon Darling Hall, with its generous outlook towards the tree-lined Parliamentary Axis. Triangulated roof trusses, raked plywood ceilings and rich timber door frames make the space memorable, but like the whole of the building, an understated calm prevails.
The galleries themselves are relatively plain and lofty spaces – in part, anonymous vehicles for their special contents – but with their ceilings tilting upwards along their edges to admit gentle, tempered light. The playful ceiling forms add visual interest to the galleries and main spaces without distracting from their primary purpose. Other spaces, such as the conference rooms and the cafe, are carefully and neatly resolved. Visitors are unaware of the vast basement, which keeps deliveries, parking and art storage out of sight.
Every major space is interspersed with a transitional interlude, which works in part like a deep wall, while also offering distant glimpses of the park setting.
Given the immediate public interest in and support for the National Portrait Gallery and the constant stream of visitors, the jury noted that the building is already brimful and may require enlargement in the foreseeable future.
Johnson Pilton Walker—directors in charge Richard Johnson, Graeme Dix; project architect Adrian Yap; project team Mark Berlangieri, Naigel Carusi, Andrew Christie, Andrew Clemenza, Andrew Daly, Monique Clark, Wayne Dickerson, Jorg Hartig, Meiling Honson, Mathew Howard, Dickson Leung, Timothy Osborne, Georg Petzold, Adrian Pilton, Duncan Reed, Roger To, Carlie Waterman
Acoustic, civil, structural and fire engineer
Electrical, lighting, environmental, mechanical and security consultant
Advance Building Approvals
Cost and programming consultant
Provided by Commonwealth
Warren Smith and Partners
Norman Disney and Young
Food and beverage consultant
Sangster Design Group
Builder and construction manager
John Holland Group
APP, for Department of Finance and Deregulation
For further coverage see Architecture Australia vol 98 no 2, March/April 2009.
National Commendation for Interior Architecture