The people of Tasmania have spoken, and MONA is their chosen architectural icon.
The Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) has received a huge number of positive reviews from those both in and outside of the industry, with the Tassie building gaining international acclaim.
MONA is more than just a Tassie building, however. It now stands as a state icon and a testament to the architectural prowess of Australia’s southernmost state. Even the fact that the designers, architectural firm Fender Katsalidis, are Melbourne-based does not take away from this Tasmanian achievement. Many, including popular industry blog ‘the design files’, have labeled the building as ‘genuine best gallery in the world contender’ or offered other, similar accolades.
The development has won the People’s Choice Prize at the Australian Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2012 Tasmanian Architecture Awards, firmly solidifying its place at one of the most valuable architectural feats in the state, if not the single most valuable.
“MONA is a place of mystery, exploration and wonder – unconventional, unpredictable, where the visitor can feel comfortably lost amongst extraordinary art,” says the award jury.
The AIA describes the building as aesthetically unique, inviting visitors to explore the built landscape as they see fit.
“Carved into a peninsula of Hobart’s Moorilla Estate, MONA’s waffle concrete and Corten steel container will weather inexorably into the landscape,” says the AIA. “Planning of gallery chamber and level interconnections is deliberately unconventional, eschewing a programmed circulation strategy for individual journeys of discovery.”
The success of this building is a true testament to cultural relevance expressed through design, with the unique and whimsical nature of the building clearly resonating with the people of Tasmania. In a sound example of form following function, the building itself is a work of art designed to hold artworks, with its massive natural sandstone feature walls, eclectic steel walkways and stunning variety of exterior artworks.
The AIA People’s Choice win may not come as a surprise to many, given that the win was certainly well-deserved. MONA has achieved a feat that many avant-garde buildings never achieve – receiving public acclaim with very little doubt in the industry that it truly deserves it.