Project Budget



Fender Katsalidis Architects


Museum of Old and New Art



Opened in 2017, the iconic Pharos wing is a continuum of the MONA’s signature expeditionary journey. The gallery – named Pharos for the Lighthouse of Alexandria – is designed as a temple to light. Walsh defines the Pharos Wing to be numerous contradictory and co-existing things, present all in the one time. Whilst he describes MONA to be an antidote to closed-mindedness, Walsh intends Pharos to be open heart surgery.

The wing is home to artworks by American artist, James Turrell. Operating within subterranean spaces to negotiate light and consciousness, Turrell creates an experiential maze of colour and movement. Pharos is curated to be an everchanging yet changeless monument of MONA, and by extension, David Walsh himself.

Due to its symbolic perpetuality, Pharos was to exist as a portrait for the museum and so it had to be distinct from the main structure. The distinction was achieved in both spatial and aesthetic nature. Demanding absolute attention from onlookers arriving by the Derwent River, a 14-metre inverted parabola frames the forefront of Pharos. It pulls the gaze inwards to the iconic white sphere located in the Faro Tapas Bar. Whilst diverging in silhouette to create a firm front for the museum, Pharos establishes connection through the implementation of MONA’s unique monolithic concrete form.

The open architectural design alive both within and without the museum displays the artistry of the working structural framework. Arguably the most recognisable component of MONA, the concrete parabola and encased restaurant were also the most structurally challenging. The pavilion extends over the River Derwent and, given the environmental sensitivity of the banks, the strategy to install the structure’s foundations within the riverbed itself – while essential – was incredibly high risk. The project’s success not only secured one of Tasmania’s most iconic cultural landmarks, but also honoured the work of developers, architects and engineers alike in its open exemplary structure.