SANAA reimagining the Art Gallery of NSW

An artist's impression of the Sydney Modern project. Photo: Art Gallery of NSW and SANAA for Sydney Modern expansion

Arts Minister Don Harwin on Sunday confirmed the government’s commitment to $244 million funding for the expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW with Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA as the designers.

Aerial view of the Gallery 2015

Aerial view of the Gallery 2015

President of the AGNSW Board and Chancellor of UNSW, David Gonski AC said,

“This decision by the NSW Government is to be applauded and its merit, in my opinion, will be seen and enjoyed by generations to come,”

Visual artists, the education, business and tourism sectors, and admirers of art have all welcomed news. The project will significantly increase space for the Gallery to exhibit art, and is expected to attract two million visitors annually.

It will create new indoor and outdoor spaces and significantly increase the Gallery’s capacity to share art with the many audiences it serves by day and by night. It will also improve connectivity, wayfinding, support a variety of precinct events and activities and will be at the core of a new and unified cultural precinct, linking the Gallery with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, State Library of NSW, CBD and Woolloomooloo.

“In this city we need a stadium that celebrates culture and thought.” Ben Quilty, artist and Trustee

The Sydney Modern Project will extend over two grassed concrete platforms – a land bridge (constructed between 1997 and 1999) over the Eastern Distributor and a concrete roof over two disused World War II oil tanks.

The international competition jury unanimously selected SANAA following an Australian and international architectural design competition that commenced in September 2014. In a two-stage invitational process endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects, practices from around the world were invited to submit ideas for an architecturally ambitious, intelligent, sensitive, sustainable and highly functional design.

Louvre-Lens, Lens, France© SANAA, Tim Culbert + Celia Imrey / IMREY CULBERT, Catherine Mosbach

Louvre-Lens, Lens, France© SANAA, Tim Culbert + Celia Imrey / IMREY CULBERT, Catherine Mosbach

Stage one shortlisted architects included:
Candalepas Associates – Sydney
David Chipperfield Architects – London
Fender Katsalidis – Melbourne
Herzog & de Meuron – Basel
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA – Tokyo
Kengo Kuma & Associates – Tokyo
Kerry Hill Architects – Singapore
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos – Madrid
RPBW (Renzo Piano Building Workshop) – Genoa
RMA Architects (Rahul Mehrotra Architects) – Mumbai
Sean Godsell Architects – Melbourne
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects – New York

SANAA Left to right: Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima

SANAA Left to right: Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima

The five shortlisted architects:
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA – Tokyo
Kengo Kuma & Associates – Tokyo and Paris
Kerry Hill Architects – Singapore and Perth
RMA Architects (Rahul Mehrotra Architects) – Mumbai and Boston
Sean Godsell Architects – Melbourne

In-progress image of Sydney Modern Project, view from north-east as produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

In-progress image of Sydney Modern Project, view from north-east as produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

“Our expanded Gallery will deliver and sensitively designed building that combines art, architecture and landscape in an extraordinary way, and in one of the most breathtaking locations in the world,” Dr Brand added.

The expansion will see more of the Gallery’s iconic collection, worth $1.3 billion, on display. It will improve significantly the State’s ability to attract more major international art exhibitions to NSW.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art will be front and centre in the expanded Gallery, showcased and celebrated with the prominence it deserves.

The Art Gallery of NSW capital campaign, to be officially launched later this year, will raise $100 million in philanthropic support for the project of which $70 million has been pledged.

“This is an exciting and much-needed project that will help boost Australia’s reputation as a global arts and cultural leader.”  Margy Osmond, CEO, Tourism & Transport Forum

The expansion will offer increased space for sharing the Gallery’s collection and will feature  innovative displays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, multimedia access to the artists and their stories, space for the display of Australian and Asia Pacific art, state-of-the-art spaces, comprehensive display of modern and contemporary art – both Australian and international, specialised spaces for works on paper, photographs and the moving image, dedicated spaces and facilities for learning with enhanced digital capabilities facilitating online engagement and regional community access.

Construction of the Eastern Distributor in front of State Library of NSW c1961

Construction of the Eastern Distributor in front of State Library of NSW c1961

The building will incorporate the latest in building technology and will achieve maximum environmental and economic sustainability and five Green Star rating.

A new outdoor cultural plaza will be enjoyed by visitors to the Gallery as well as being accessible 24/7 to anyone walking through the site and it will link the Gallery with the Royal Botanic Gardens, featuring art commissions from local, national and international artists.

photo by Sacha Fernandez under Creative Commons Licence

photo by Sacha Fernandez under Creative Commons Licence

The design concept will continue to be refined until the planned submission of a State Significant Development Application. Major construction of the project will commence in 2019 and is due for completion in 2021 just in time for the 150th anniversary of the  founding of the Gallery in 1871.

The  AGNSW project is one of many high profile projects that are propelling the Sydney Central District forward. There are major projects across the CBD including the design of the Quay Quarter and new Sydney Fish Market by 3XN, Foster & Partners design project – Duo, Chippendale, Crone and Kengo Kuma & Associates – Darling Exchange and Wanda Vista Hotel, Make Architects – Wynyard Place and interior of the Opera House Towers, and new Pontiac Group hotel on Bridge Street and Renzo Piano Building Workshop – One Sydney Harbour. All these projects will be completed by 2024 reshaping a city that we are quickly outgrowing.

In progress image of Sydney Modern Project, atrium, as produced by SANAA. Featuring artworks left to right: Michael Parekowhai, The English Channel, 2015, © Michael Parekowhai; Ugo Rondinone, clockwork for oracles, 2010, © Ugo Rondinone; Rusty Peters, Waterbrain, 2002, © Rusty Peters. Warmun Arts Centre. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney; Emily Floyd, Kesh alphabet, 2017, © Emily Floyd; Xu Bing, Phoenix, 2010, © Xu Bing Studio; Mabel Juli, Garnkiny Ngarrangkarni, 2006, © Mabel Juli, courtesy Warmun Art Centre. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney; Freddie Timms, Jack Yard, 2004, © Freddie Timms Estate. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney. © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2017

In progress image of Sydney Modern Project, atrium, as produced by SANAA.
Featuring artworks left to right: Michael Parekowhai, The English Channel, 2015, © Michael Parekowhai; Ugo Rondinone, clockwork for oracles, 2010, © Ugo Rondinone; Rusty Peters, Waterbrain, 2002, © Rusty Peters. Warmun Arts Centre. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney; Emily Floyd, Kesh alphabet, 2017, © Emily Floyd; Xu Bing, Phoenix, 2010, © Xu Bing Studio; Mabel Juli, Garnkiny Ngarrangkarni, 2006, © Mabel Juli, courtesy Warmun Art Centre. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney; Freddie Timms, Jack Yard, 2004, © Freddie Timms Estate. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
© Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2017

The extension will be completed in time for the 150th anniversary of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2021.