the art gallery of new south wales has received planning consent for its SANAA-designed expansion. known as the ‘sydney modern project’, construction on the new building could commence as soon as early 2019. the announcement coincides with the unveiling of the building’s final design; the first iteration of the scheme won the  international competition held in 2015, before the plans were revised in late 2017.

SANAA sydney modern project
all images of the sydney modern project as produced by kazuyo sejima + ryue nishizawa / SANAA
© art gallery of new south wales, 2018



the new building, designed by 2010 pritzker laureates SANAA, will almost double the institution’s current exhibition space. this will enable the art gallery of new south wales to display more of its collection and host more exhibitions from around the world, increasing visitation to an expected two million people a year.

SANAA sydney modern project
the new building is articulated around a light-filled atrium



the expanded gallery, which can be toured in the video at the top of this page, will include: a prominent destination for aboriginal and torres strait islander art; a large gallery for major exhibitions; a contemporary art space repurposed from a decommissioned WWII oil tank; and spaces for family, learning, and educational programming. meanwhile, a public art garden will link the new and existing buildings.

SANAA sydney modern project
floor-to-ceiling glazing offers sweeping views across the city



‘the art gallery of NSW is delighted that its expansion plans have been approved to create an art museum experience that brings together art, architecture, and landscape in one of the most beautiful cultural precincts in the world,’ says art gallery of NSW director dr michael brand. ‘our transformed institution will represent sydney’s bold spirit as a leading 21st-century art museum with a deep commitment to both australian and international art.’

SANAA sydney modern project
column-free exhibition space is provided



since 2015, when the scheme was first unveiled, the gallery has worked with SANAA to evolve the design to maximize open space across the site. this involved integrating the building with the landscape and enhancing sustainability initiatives, including rainwater harvesting, solar panels, and a seawater heat exchange system for air-conditioning.

SANAA sydney modern project
the project could complete as early as 2021



the $344 million AUD project is the largest public-private partnerships of its kind in the australian arts. the NSW government has funded $244 million, with philanthropic support close to reaching its target for the remainder of the funds. construction is expected to commence in early 2019 with completion scheduled for 2021. the gallery, which provides free admission, will remain open during this time.