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Art Gallery of NSW marks ‘topping out’ for Sydney Modern Project

21 November 2021

Aerial view of the Sydney Modern Project construction site next to the existing Art Gallery of NSW building. Photo: Craig Willoughby

Aerial view of the Sydney Modern Project construction site next to the existing Art Gallery of NSW building. Photo: Craig Willoughby

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is marking a key milestone for the Sydney Modern Project with the new building 'topping out’ ahead of its scheduled completion in late 2022.

Topping out marks Richard Crookes Constructions’ completion of the highest structural point of the new building - the roof of the entrance pavilion.

Premier Dominic Perrottet and Minister for the Arts Don Harwin announced the significant milestone for the Art Gallery’s expansion on a site visit today. The Sydney Modern Project has made great progress since construction began two years ago and it remains on schedule and budget despite the pandemic.

The roof of the entrance pavilion will be covered in solar cells, one of the key features of the Sydney Modern Project’s 6-star Green Star design rating. The Art Gallery is Australia’s first museum to achieve the highest rating for sustainable design, setting new standards for cultural institutions both nationally and internationally.

The development of the Sydney Modern Project designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA transforms one of Australia’s flagship public cultural institutions into a two-building art museum that will almost double the space for the display and enjoyment of art.

Art Gallery of New South Wales director Dr Michael Brand said: “It’s exciting to see SANAA’s stunning design taking form on this special place in Sydney on Gadigal Country.

“The transformation of an art museum requires a finely articulated balance of the architectural and the museological. Our transformed home for art will provide visitors with exceptional experiences of art, architecture and landscape only possible in Sydney, while celebrating the continuing role of artists in our society,” Dr Brand said.

Together with the NSW Government’s $244 million in funding, the Art Gallery has raised more than $100 million to support the expansion project. It is the largest government and philanthropic arts partnership of its kind in Australia to date.

President of the Art Gallery’s Trust, David Gonski, said: “As we mark this construction milestone, we thank all our Art Gallery supporters who made the Sydney Modern Project possible and partnered with the NSW Government to set a new benchmark for arts philanthropy in Australia.

“This inspired investment in the arts will make a vital contribution to NSW and Australia, enriching our culture and the lives of our many visitors, now and for generations to come,” Gonski said.

The Art Gallery’s new building, public art garden and revitalised historic building will bring together art, architecture and landscape in spectacular new ways, with dynamic galleries, site-specific works by leading Australian and international artists, and extensive outdoor spaces open to all.

Richard Crookes Constructions’ General Manager Major Projects and Sydney, Grant D’Arcy, said working on the Art Gallery’s expansion is a real honour.

“We are proud to work with the NSW Government, the Art Gallery of NSW and the local community to bring SANAA’s incredible vision to life.

“To reach this structural completion milestone, particularly after what has been such a challenging time for our industry and the local community during COVID-19, is very rewarding,” D’Arcy said.

About the Sydney Modern Project

The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Sydney Modern Project is an important expansion and transformation of one of Australia’s pre-eminent art museums: a new standalone gallery building, the revitalisation of its late-19th and 20th century building, art garden and civic space. Construction of the Art Gallery’s new building designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA, with Architectus as executive architect, is underway by Richard Crookes Constructions and is scheduled for completion in late 2022. The Art Gallery is Australia’s first art museum to be awarded the highest standard for sustainable design with a 6-star Green Star rating. Infrastructure NSW is the delivery agency for the project on behalf of the NSW Government and the Art Gallery. The Art Gallery remains open during construction.