Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects – All images: courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Architecture – At the end of 2022, Pritzker Prize-winners Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA Architects are set to complete the Sidney Modern Project, expanding one of Australia’s pre-eminent art museums and their first architecture in the country. Built alongside the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the new standalone building incorporates a “series of interlocking rectangular pavilions that step down through the site following the natural topography of the land towards Sidney Harbour.”

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sidney Modern Project “delivers much-needed gallery space while respecting and enhancing public use of the surrounding landscape, retaining and celebrating significant trees and improving the accessibility of the cultural precinct,” SANAA told Archipanic. The new building also comprises art research and education spaces, multipurpose spaces, shop, food and beverage facilities, and visitor amenities.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

A large, multi-level atrium connects the interlocked pavilions providing views towards Sydney Harbour through glass walls. In total, the extension will contain 7,000 square metres of gallery space and include two galleries that are each over 1,000 square metres with 5.5-metre-high ceilings. The external facade material of the pavilions of natural limestone in warm tones and two sweeping internal walls of rammed earth in the new building are sympathetic to the sandstone facade of the existing building and parkland.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The project also features a range of smaller galleries, learning studios for children and school groups, a dedicated studio for creating multimedia works and a rooftop art terrace. Set in a world war two oil tank built in the early 1940s, an underground gallery space will host large-scale commissions and site-specific performances.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The expansion delivers new open green spaces across the site, including the outdoor public art garden and new civic plaza linking the new and existing buildings. These 24/7 publicly accessible external spaces comprise close to 80% of the site, including more than 3,400 sqm of accessible roof ‘art terraces’ and courtyards, increasing biodiversity with 70%more treeson site. Indeed, significant landscape design will use endemic ecological planting and reinstate historic species associated with the ‘Governor’s Domain,’ more in keeping with the site’s original flora.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sidney Modern Project was designed with sustainability in mind. More than 1.500 sqm of photovoltaic cells over the Entrance Pavilion will contribute approximately 10% of the new building’s estimated annual energy requirements. The landscaped roof areas of the new building will capture rainwater, which will be reused in the existing building’s cooling towers and for on-site irrigation.

Sidney Modern Project by SANAA Architects - Image by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

All images: courtesy of Sidney Modern Project.