Plans to double the size of the Art Gallery of NSW are gaining momentum with its director announcing 12 Australian and international architectural practices as potential designers for the project.

The expansion is a major part of the ‘Sydney Modern Project’, which proposes a new northern wing addition to the existing gallery presently sitting on 23,000sqm of Sydney Domain land overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay.

The project is expected to cost over $400 million and will be jointly funded by State and private patronage. This is on top of the $10.8 million already promised by the NSW State Government to fund the project’s design competition.

Four Australian architecture firms have been invited to submit concepts for the design competition which has attracted the likes of Renzo Piano’s Genoa workshop, London’s David Chipperfield Architects, Mumbai’s RMA Architects and Tokyo’s Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa.

Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand has announced 12 international firms from a list of 30 suggestions that will be part of the Sydney Modern Project design competition. Photographer: Carly Earl

Candalepas Associates will represent Sydney in the competition while Fender Katsalidis and Sean Godsell Architects from Melbourne will also submit proposals. Singapore-based Kerry Hill Architects have also been invited to submit a design and will hope past success in the field of Australian public architecture will help their cause. As with other Sydney design competitions, the competition jury will select a firm not a final concept as the winner of the design competition.

The jury will trim the 12 candidates to a shortlist of four or five in early 2015 before the winning firm is revealed to the public in April 2015.

Above and Below: artist impressions show the utilisation of the land bridge over the Cahill Expressway and the northerly extension of the gallery. Images: SMH


  1. Candalepas Associates of Sydney
  2. Sean Godsell Architects of Melbourne
  3. Fender Katsalidis of Melbourne
  4. Kazugo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA of Tokyo
  5. Kengo Kuma and Associates of Tokyo
  6. Kerry Hill Architects of Singapore
  7. Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos of Madrid
  8. RMA Architects of Mumbai
  9. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects of New York
  10. David Chipperfield Architects of London
  11. Renzo Piano Workshop of Genoa
  12. Herzog and de Meuron of Basel

The jury includes well-known landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson; Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority CEO Michael Lynch; Harvard School of Design Professor Toshiko Mori; Australian architect and 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Glenn Murcutt; writer and professor emeritus Professor Juhani Pallasmaa; and independent curator and author Hetti Perkins.

Gallery authorities have said the expansion will not enter the adjacent Botanical Gardens so designs are expected to follow the land bridge over the Cahill Expressway and onto "underutilised land" in The Domain.

Swiss Architects Herzog and de Meuron designed the Roche Tower in Basel and are one of the 12 listed to potentially design the new Art Gallery of NSW additions. Photo: Wikimedia.

David Chipperfield Architects were responsible for the now famous Museo de Jumex. Image: Revista Código

Japanese architects Sejima and Nishizawa are known for the New Museum of Contemporary art building in New York. Image: Wikimedia

Other plans for the ‘Sydney Modern Project’ include:

  • New train station between Martin Place and Kings Cross
  • New ferry wharf at Woolloomooloo
  • Three major art acquisitions including a 1514 engraving by Durer
  • Collaborating with institutions in western Sydney and regional NSW but no new gallery in Sydney's west
  • Partnering with overseas galleries, particularly in the US
  • Rehanging contemporary art collection
  • Summer blockbusters of American painting (2013), Pop Art (2014) and European old masters (2015)