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Architectureat Heide


The architecture of Heide Museum of Modern Art reflects the site’s transformation from a rural homestead to the public art museum it is today.

The first residence of John and Sunday Reed at Heide was a distinctive weatherboard farmhouse which they renovated in the French provincial style. Known today as the Heide Cottage, this was home to the Reeds for thirty-five years and is the place where Sidney Nolan’s Kelly series was painted; where the Angry Penguins Ern Malley poems were argued as being authentic or spurious; where Albert Tucker and Joy Hester lived for a time; and where many creatives enjoyed the plentiful produce from the Heide kitchen garden and dairy.

Amassing an outstanding collection of contemporary art, the Reeds outgrew the Heide Cottage and in 1963 commissioned David McGlashan of the architecture firm McGlashan and Everist to plan and construct a new home in the modernist style. Their brief was that the building should be romantic, have a sense of mystery and weather over time to take on the appearance of a ruin in the landscape. They also desired a ‘gallery to be lived in’, intending that this building should one day be transformed into a public art gallery.

Since the establishment of Heide as a public museum and garden in 1981, the site has expanded to include the Sidney Myer Education Centre, an elegant glass pavilion café and the Heide main galleries, a purpose built museum space, whose black titanium zinc facade strikingly contrasts with the white limestone of Heide Modern, while echoing the earlier building’s modernist spirit.

photograph: Jeremy Weihrauch

photograph: Jeremy Weihrauch

photograph: Jeremy Weihrauch

Heide Modern Story

The award-winning Heide Modern building began life as the home of John and Sunday Reed in 1967. Today it is one of five gallery spaces at Heide, with a special focus on site-responsive exhibitions by contemporary artists.

A gallery to be lived in

Artists impression, Carmody Groarke

The future of Heide

Heide and the surrounding area, including the sacred site of Bolin Bolin Billabong, is now at a critical juncture in its history, with several major external projects that could change the face of the museum and this culturally significant precinct forever.

The North East Link, Australia’s largest road infrastructure project, will offer great accessibility and tourism benefits for visitors, with the freeway extension enabling a direct route from Melbourne Airport to Heide.

The construction of the road will create challenges to Heide’s operations over a period of several years, but also provides a unique opportunity for the cultural precinct to take advantage of its increased visibility and accessibility and ensure an environmentally and culturally sustainable approach.

We will need your help.

Current Exhibitions