It’s Sean Godsell Architects and Kerry Hill Architects versus the world in a competition to win the brief for the new Art Gallery of New South Wales, with the two practices the only Australians announced on the five-strong shortlist to submit designs for ‘The Sydney Modern Project’.

Twelve Australian and international architectural practices were asked to submit concepts for the project, which proposes a new northern wing addition to the existing gallery presently sitting on 23,000sqm of Sydney Domain land overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay, back in October.

The shortlist was then trimmed to five by an esteemed jury which included Glenn Murcutt and Harvard University’s Toshiko Mori, amongst others.

The shortlisted architects in Stage Two of the competition are:

  • Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA Tokyo
  • Kengo Kuma & Associates Tokyo and Paris
  • Kerry Hill Architects Perth and Singapore
  • RMA Architects (Rahul Mehrotra Architects) Mumbai and Boston
  • Sean Godsell Architects Melbourne

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


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.

The Art Gallery of NSW says that the combined jury will select one architectural practice to work closely with the Gallery and stakeholders to develop a detailed design in April 2015.

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has endorsed the competition process. Sydney architect and Immediate Past President of the AIA  Paul Berkemeier said, “The Gallery has approached the Sydney Modern Project in an exemplary way.”

“Architecture is increasingly a national and international profession. The winning practice will inevitably establish a major presence in Sydney, either in its own right or in partnership with a local firm, providing strong opportunities for engagement with the New South Wales architectural community,” Berkemeier said.

Gallery Director Dr Michael Brand said each of the five selected practices had the potential to deliver an exceptional design for the Gallery.

“Our vision is for an inspirational design open to all the possibilities for art – a museum for the 21st century that will excite and engage audiences locally, nationally and internationally,” he said.

“Each of the five selected practices demonstrated insight and sensitivity to place and a diversity of approach to creating built forms. I am confident the winner will create something quite extraordinary for Sydney.”

The Sydney Modern Jury members are:

Michael Brand (Chair) Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

  • Kathryn Gustafson Internationally recognised landscape architect with over 30 years of distinguished practice with landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (Seattle) and Gustafson Porter (London)
  • Michael Lynch CBE AM CEO West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong
  • Toshiko Mori Robert P Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Glenn Murcutt AO Internationally acclaimed Australian architect and recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2002, Sydney
  • Juhani Pallasmaa Architect, professor emeritus and widely published writer, Helsinki
  • Hetti Perkins Member of the Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon Aboriginal communities and internationally acclaimed curator, filmmaker and author, Sydney