The Sydney Modern Project | The Art Gallery of New South Wales transformation designed by Pritzker prize-winning Japanese architects SANAA, opens to the public on its landmark site overlooking Sydney Harbour this Saturday 3 December 2022, the most significant cultural development to open in the city since the Sydney Opera House nearly half a century ago.
The development almost doubles the Art Gallery’s exhibition space and includes a new building linked to the original building by an art garden.
The art museum buildings are set in new civic spaces and landscape with elements designed by acclaimed American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, creating new freely accessible outdoor art experiences in one of the world’s most beautiful cultural precincts.
The permanent collection of the Art Gallery has been entirely reinstalled in displays that reveal insights into issues of vital concern today and engage in a new dialogue between Australian and international art.
SANAA principals Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, who this year were awarded the Praemium Imperiale award for architecture, said: “It has been a wonderful honour to design such an important public building in Sydney. Working closely with the Art Gallery of New South Wales team, we aimed to design an art museum building that is harmonious with its surroundings, one that breathes with the city, the park and the harbour. We hope it will be a special place where visitors feel connected to art wherever they are in this beautiful setting.”
Designed as a complementary counterpart to the Art Gallery’s revitalised original building with its 19th-century neoclassical facade, SANAA’s design for the new building responds to the unique project site with a series of interlocking pavilions that gently step down towards Sydney Harbour.
The pavilions sit low and lightly on the site, following the natural topography of the land.
The design delivers much-needed exhibition space while respecting and enhancing public use of the surrounding landscape, retaining and celebrating significant trees and improving access to Sydney’s eastern cultural precinct. The new building also comprises art research and education spaces, multipurpose spaces, gallery shop, food and beverage facilities, and visitor amenities.
The new building has been designed to meet the evolving expectations of audiences for a 21st century art museum with greater capacity to accommodate future Art Gallery visitors, particularly students, teachers and artists.
The new building is the first public art museum in Australia to achieve a 6-star Green Star design rating.
100% of the new building’s energy needs are powered by renewable energy, with more than 10% of energy needs generated by solar panels on the Entrance Pavilion roof.
Rainwater capture and harvesting for re-use in irrigation and cooling towers.
More than 8000 square metres of green roof and landscaped areas are planted with Australian native species.
Press release courtesy of Art Gallery of New South Wales
Photos by Iwan Baan