Science Gallery Melbourne explores the collision of art and science through ambitious transdisciplinary exhibitions that ignite interest, innovation and creativity. Part of the acclaimed Global Science Gallery Network and embedded in the University of Melbourne, SGM is a dynamic new model for engaging 15-25 year olds with science. As one of seven current nodes worldwide in this expanding network, SGM aims to involve, inspire and transform curious minds through arts and science. Smart Design Studio was commissioned to activate the internal galleries within the building conceived by Masterplan and Lead Architects Woods Bagot.
The concept brings to life hidden forces of nature, making science in action visible in the built form. The dramatic gridded ceiling defines the large galleries with its regular grid establishing a structure for the spaces. This then becomes distorted as it passes by the solid cores of the space, much as air currents are diverted around an obstacle in fluid dynamics or the way sound changes frequency under the Doppler effect.
The grid also acts as an armature for large hanging screens to be used for displaying works and partitioning rooms; these are elements in a kit-of-parts for the gallery which allows the space to be reconfigured. The kit-of-parts approach extends to lighting and audio-visual elements, which can be plugged in where needed to manipulate and transform the gallery, theatre and workshop spaces, avoiding the disposal of plasterboard and other waste traditionally associated with changing over exhibitions.
Open and connected to visitors and to the street, SGM is always on show. Large windows afford views in and out and a soaring double-height void on the corner attracts passers-by. As well as showcasing the completed exhibition, the design offers insight into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ action when exhibitions are being set up. SGM facilities include large-scale and flexible exhibition, workshop and theatre spaces; an Artist-in-Residence laboratory and social areas for collaboration and interaction.
SGM will occupy 3600 sqm over two levels in Melbourne Connect, designed by Woods Bagot and located at the corner of Swanston and Grattan Streets. Designed as a ‘living lab’, SGM will act as the ‘front door’ to this major new innovation precinct which will also house the Melbourne School of Engineering, the Faculty of Business and Economics student accommodation, fabrication labs and co-working and event spaces.
Science Gallery Melbourne is under construction.
SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT