By its very nature, the Institutional category tends to be the most eclectic category – and this year was no exception. But it was that most glamorous and sought-after of commissions, the art gallery, that took out top honours. Kerstin Thompson Architects’ Monash University Museum of Art is both a nod to the tradition of the flexible ‘white box’ gallery space, and a counter to it. While the project does feature plenty of white exhibition space, it is far from hermetic, countering these qualities with a robustly treated circulation and services spine, exposing the structure and workings of the gallery to the public eye. It is the tectonic language here that serves as decoration, subtly by masterfully handled.
“The dark spaces play counterpoint to the white box galleries – a clever architectural palette cleaners in the gallery experience.” – 2011 juror, Hannah Tribe.