Construction of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ highly anticipated expansion – the Sydney Modern Project – has officially kicked off. The Sydney Modern Project will create a new museum experience across two buildings connected by a public garden.
Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architects, SANAA, with Architectus as the Executive Architect, the Gallery’s new building will almost double the exhibition space with seamless connections between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The design comprises a series of eight state-of-the-art contemporary exhibition spaces assembled in an inter-connected sequence that transitions down the sloping topography leading towards Sydney Harbour. The architectural and landscape works will transform the underutilised site north of the existing Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), which includes decommissioned World War II oil tanks that will be repurposed for contemporary exhibition and performance activities. The expansion will also include a new prominent destination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, a large gallery for major exhibitions, and flexible spaces to expand learning programs for schools, communities and families.
Luke Johnson, Principal at Architectus said the unique light-weight and highly transparent architectural design will complement the sandstone facades of the much-loved Vernon Wing, “providing exhibition and support spaces for contemporary art forms, conservation activities and educational participation”.
The AGNSW is also expected to be the first public art museum in Australia to achieve the highest environmental standard for design – the Green Building Council of Australia has awarded the Sydney Modern Project a 6-star Green Star design rating.
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian said the $344 million expansion will create an international art destination in one of the world’s most beautiful cultural precincts.
“Gallery visitor numbers are expected to increase to at least two million people a year,” she said.
Art Gallery of NSW director, Dr Michael Brand, added that the project will transform the Gallery and the way visitors engage with art.
“Our expansion is more than a stunning new building. It’s about the exciting possibilities ahead of us to deliver more rich and meaningful experiences of art for everyone,” Dr Brand said.
Infrastructure NSW is managing the delivery of the Sydney Modern Project on behalf of the NSW Government and Gallery. Richard Crookes Constructions is the selected contractor.
The Gallery is set to remain open during construction, which is scheduled for completion in 2022.