What is it: A major expansion for the Art Gallery of New South Wales When will it open? 2021, on the 150th anniversary of its founding
‘Sydney Modern’ is the working title for the new museum space at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The project will double the floor space of the existing Gallery and it’s hoped the $244-million expansion will bring the venue in line with the world’s greatest art museums – not only to rival Australian cultural institutions, but also worldwide. Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA (whose portfolio includes the Louvre-Lens in France and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan) are designing the building, which will stretch across underutilised land to the north of the existing building, plus over-and-around two disused World War II oil tanks and over the Eastern Distributor. They’re working on designs for a grand entrance, additional dining spaces, a rooftop garden and – vitally – more space to display the gallery’s $1.3 billion collection. Best of all, they’re promising to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art front-and-centre, lifting it out of the basement and into the prominent position it deserves. The Gallery currently sees 1.3 million visitors per year, and so, dialling up its tech is a priority, too – as is better tools for its non-English speaking guests. Construction is likely to begin in 2019.