Fender Katsalidis Architects
Museum of Old and New Art
From nowhere to Pharos, Siloam's journey
When MONA opened its renown Pharos wing in 2017, it included a tunnel to nowhere. Ending abruptly with signage reading “To Be Continued”, the tunnel existed simply as a question for what was to come. Not until a year later did David Walsh finally decide what the tunnel was to be used for and so, Siloam was born.
Access to the Pharos wing was often severed from the museum as exhibitions were interchanged and modified. The previously unused tunnel, now named Siloam, allows access to the Pharos wing to be continuous and uninterrupted. Whilst primarily established to connect the museum’s underground galleries to the newer Pharos wing, Siloam remains a continuum of MONA’s stylistic immersive journey. Guests are guided along Chris Townend’s Requiem for Vermin, the largest multichannel sound-based work in the world, as well as traversing through Alfredo Jaar’s Divine Comedy, a walk through hell, purgatory and paradise.
The design for Siloam was to be architecturally engaging whilst remaining economically functional. The exhibitions of MONA are characterised by the spaces in which they inhabit, and so it is crucial that the fundamental design interacts with the artworks. Raw structural elements are utilised to create a harsh yet honest backdrop to which the art responds. The incorporation of above and in-ground structures, alongside the uniquely industrial design proposed for this project, required the integral application of BIM processes to accommodate the intense collaboration of the design team. The successful coordination between architects, engineers and contractors saw the vision for Siloam as an interactive and engaging journey come to life.