SANAA’s Art Gallery of New South Wales Expansion to Offer City’s Largest Cultural Commission in 50 Years | News

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Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021



SANAA has released renderings and added a new opening date for its Sydney Art Gallery expansion in New South Wales (AGNSW).

Billed as the city’s biggest cultural development since the dramatic opening from its Opera House almost 50 years ago, the Sydney Modern Project plans to create two new buildings linked by a public garden and will make its public debut on December 3.

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021

The expansion will increase the institution’s gallery spaces by almost double, from 96,875 square feet to 172,222 square feet, including a new 23,680 square foot underground gallery that has been redeveloped from a reservoir of disused oil dating from the Second World War. Overall, 70% of the new gallery is built on top of the existing structures.

According to SANAA, sustainable design initiatives include more than 16,000 square feet of photovoltaic cells covering the entrance pavilion expected to generate about 10% of the new building’s energy needs and a green roof designed to collect rainwater.

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2018

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021

The studio describes it as a building that is “light, transparent and open to its surroundings” which “responds to the topography of the site with a series of art pavilions that cascade down to the harbor”.

The existing AGNSW facilities were first designed by Walter Liberty Vernon at the turn of the 20th century to house the state’s official art collection, now at 36,000, which includes over 2,000 pieces of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art that have been collected since 1974. A The central point of the project is therefore to give this element of the collection renewed attention throughout the campus, according to the institution.

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021

Image: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021

The A$344 million (US$244 million) project includes landscaping by GGN and McGregor Coxall. Commissions have been assigned to artists Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Karla Dickens, Simryn Gill, Jonathan Jones, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Mingwei, Richard Lewer, Lisa Reihana and Francis Upritchard to also coincide with the opening.

Tonkin Zulaikha Greera local company specializing in adaptive reuse and historic renovations, will oversee a total renovation of Vernon’s existing buildings, including a complete relocation of the collection and the creation of “extensive outdoor art experiences, and a series of commissions major art shows across campus by leading international and Australian artists.






Overview of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Modern Sydney Project. Video courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


SANAA on the Art Gallery of New South Wales Modern Sydney Project. Video courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.













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