The $380-million expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales is closer than ever. Following the state government’s announcement that it will contribute $244 million in funding to the project – representing more than two-thirds of the total estimated budget – Japanese architecture firm SANAA has released new images that better indicate what that money will manifest.

Dubbed the Sydney Modern Project, the design for the expanded gallery consists of a series of glass and sandstone boxes that lie low across the landscape, reaching out towards Sydney Harbour and the Cahill Expressway. The design is intended to match the existing topography of the harbour-proximite site, and to open the gallery up to the outdoors.



To achieve this latter, SANAA has included plans for a new outdoor cultural plaza, set up to facilitate art displays, live performances and other cultural events.

The floorspace of the gallery itself will almost double as a result of the SANAA-designed project. This will allow the gallery to accommodate larger travelling exhibitions that come from significant overseas galleries.


It has been emphasised that the newly-released images are indicative only. Refinements will continue to be made to SANAA’s design over the next few months, until a State Significant Development Application plan is officially submitted.

Construction on the Sydney Modern Project is slated to begin in early 2019. The timing for completion is hoped to coincide with the gallery’s 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2021.