Winner AMaGA National Awards Perm/gallery fit out
Winner AIA VIC Award Interior Architecture
Highly Commended IDEA Public Space
Commendation Australian Interior Design Award Public Design
Science Gallery Melbourne explores the collision of art and science through transdisciplinary exhibitions that ignite interest and innovation. 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. Designed by Smart Design Studio, SGM forms the gateway to the Melbourne Connect precinct conceived by lead architects Woods Bagot. Occupying 3600 sqm over two levels, the facilities include flexible exhibition, workshop and theatre spaces; an Artist-in-Residence laboratory and social areas for collaboration and interaction.
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 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 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 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.
SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT