Deakin graduate on winning pink pond team

May 23, 2021 BY

A DEAKIN Geelong graduate is part of the successful team whose vision to create a large pink pond in the heart of Melbourne has won a major architecture award.

James Taylor is a director at Melbourne-based architecture and interior design studio Taylor Knights which collaborated with artist James Carey to win the NGV’s 2021 Architecture Commission.

Titled pond[er], the captivating architectural and landscape installation comes to life in November in the Grollo Equiset Garden at NGV International and will be displayed until April next year.

Interior view looking north-east. Photo: COURTESY OF TAYLOR KNIGHTS AND JAMES CAREY


The interactive installation will allow visitors to wade into the pink-hued water to cool off during the summer months while reflecting on their relationship with the environment as they move through interconnected walkways and accessible platforms.

The pink pond is evocative of the many inland salt lakes in Victoria and aims to highlight the scarcity, importance and political implications of water as a natural resource.

Artist James Leary (right) with the Taylor Knights team (from left) Eva Florindo, Deakin Geelong graduate James Taylor and Peter Knights. Photo: COURTESY OF TAYLOR KNIGHTS AND JAMES CAREY


Referencing Sir Roy Grounds’ open-air courtyards in the original design of NGV International, the winning entry comprises two key design elements: a body of indigenous plants and a body of water.

The installation also includes beds of Victorian wildflowers, designed in association with Ben Scott Garden Design, that bloom at different times throughout the installation to highlight the beauty, precariousness and temporality of our natural ecology.

Mr Taylor, who graduated from Deakin’s waterfront campus in 2008, is a co-founder of Taylor Knights which has completed projects spanning metropolitan and rural settings and focuses on craftsmanship and a thoughtful response to the environment and civic generosity.

Materials selected for the project were locally sourced and manufactured, and, wherever possible, are intended to be used again by various Landcare, Indigenous and community groups upon deinstallation, including the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association.

Interior view looking south-west. Render: COURTESY OF TAYLOR KNIGHTS AND JAMES CAREY


NGV director Tony Ellwood AM said pond[er] was selected as the winner from a strong shortlist of entries.

“Through an elegant interplay of architectural and landscape elements, this work draws our attention to the challenges facing Australia’s many catchments and river systems, whilst also ensuring that the design itself has minimal environmental impact by considering the future lifecycle of the materials used,” Mr Ellwood said.

The annual commission is selected via a two-stage national competition, in which architects or multidisciplinary teams are invited to submit a design for an engaging temporary structure or installation to activate the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden, one of Melbourne’s great civic and cultural spaces.

The pond[er] installation will be on public display from November 2021 to April 2022 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Entry will be free. Discover more at the NGV website.


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