New Pt Nepean Campus, VCA Gallery

Monday, 23 March, 2015

Words by Christian Orkibi

The University of Melbourne is set to spend a total of $28 million into two planned off-campus developments, beginning this year. The first will be a $26 million contemporary art gallery at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), funded by property developer Michael Buxton to house his personal collection. The second will be a $2 million National Centre for Coasts and Climate situated within the newly built Point Nepean Quarantine Station.

The Michael Buxton Centre of Contemporary Arts (MBCOCA) will cost $16 million to construct, with the other $10 million of Buxton’s gift covering the value of the donated pieces. The works include art from Howard Arkley, Bill Henson, Patricia Piccinini, Emily Floyd and Ricky Swallow, as well as 48 other Australian contemporary artists.

Kelly Gellatly, Director at the University’s Ian Potter Museum of Art, says that the MBCOCA is important in growing the University’s art collection and providing students with the best resources.

“It’s not only going to provide a fantastic offering for students in its new home at the VCA, for those who are actually training to be the next generation of visual artists, but it will also be open to the general public and will provide them with access to cutting edge exhibitions and this extraordinary collection that will grow and shift over time,” she said.

Buxton’s complete collection, including over 300 pieces collected across 20 years, will remain in the custody of his daughter Luisa Bosci until work finishes on the centre in 2017.

The University’s other major development, the National Centre for Coasts and Climate at Point Nepean (NCCC), has been designed as an educational interface between the University and the general public. The University will primarily conduct outreach programs and research activity pertaining to coastal productivity.

A Coastal Discovery Facility will be constructed within the main complex that will serve as an interactive learning centre and public aquarium, showcasing Southern Ocean marine life. The University plans to use this space to run short courses in environmental science, management and engineering. Construction on the entire facility has already begun, with completion expected in 2016.