The Sydney Modern Project is a once-in-a-generation transformation of the 151-year-old Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, creating an art museum campus comprising two buildings connected by an Art Garden on Gadigal Country overlooking Sydney Harbour. The centerpiece of the Sydney Modern Project is a new building designed by Pritzker prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA.
Designed as a complementary counterpart to the Art Gallery’s revitalized original building with its 19th-century neoclassical facade, SANAA’s design for the new building responds to the unique project site with a series of interlocking pavilions that gently step down towards Sydney Harbour. The pavilions sit low and lightly on the site, following the natural topography of the land.
The design delivers much-needed exhibition space while respecting and enhancing public use of the surrounding landscape, retaining and celebrating significant trees, and improving access to Sydney’s eastern cultural precinct. The new building also comprises art research and education spaces, multipurpose spaces, a gallery shop, food and beverage facilities, and visitor amenities.
The new building has been designed to meet the evolving expectations of audiences for a 21st-century art museum with greater capacity to accommodate future Art Gallery visitors, particularly students, teachers, and artists.
The Art Gallery is the first public art museum in Australia to achieve the highest environmental standard for design. The Sydney Modern Project has been awarded a 6-star Green Star design rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. Classified as ‘world leadership’ in sustainability, the rating exceeds the Art Gallery’s original 5-star goal and sets a new standard for art museums globally.