‘The Sydney Modern Project’ is a fitting name for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ latest project. Set to usher in a new era in Sydney’s arts and cultural arena, the building is being boldly referred to as the largest cultural development in the city since the Sydney Opera House. It’s a tall claim but not unfounded. The standalone building features an award-winning design, multiple sightlines, two snazzy buildings connected by a public art gallery and a distinctive glassy look that overlooks the harbour. A winning combination for Sydney residents and beyond. The ambitious project, which has now been in development for over 10 years, is finally ready to open to the public.
Sydney Modern, Art Gallery of New South Wales
The scale of both the project and the building is staggering. To put it into perspective — aside from being a $344 million investment, the building has been designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. Dubbed a ‘once in a generation project’, the architectural features of the art gallery include three limestone-clad art pavilions that gently step down towards the harbour. As you walk further down, you’ll be met with 3,400 square metres of accessible roof ‘art terraces’ and courtyards with a number of exciting new spaces including a column-free gallery and a gallery of time-based art. History buffs should keep a keen lookout for a decommissioned Second World War naval fuel bunker, now christened as The Tank — a sprawling 2200-square-meter space.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet called the art gallery “extraordinarily beautiful” at the media preview adding that the ‘expanded and enhanced public institution would soon open to NSW, Australia and the world.
“This extraordinary location will, I believe, rival the most significant art locations in the world. It will rival the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern and the Guggenheim in New York. This is ‘art for all’ to inspire joy, connection and enrichment,” NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin added.
SANAA principal architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa said that the design of the building aimed to bring art, views and architecture together, acting in harmony with its natural surroundings.
“We aimed to design an art building that is harmonious with its surroundings, one that breathes with the city, the park and the harbour.”
Opening celebrations include 9 days of art, music and performances commencing on Saturday, December 3. Expect nightly drone shows, special performances, talks and a free concert in The Domain on Saturday, December 10 featuring Ellie Goulding, Meg Mac and Electric Fields.
The excitement for the public institution is clearly palpable with an eager audience of 15,000 people registered to visit over the opening weekend. Find more information about Sydney Modern and upcoming exhibitions at the AGNSW’s official website.
(Images courtesy of Art Gallery of New South Wales.)