Solar-powered art gallery incorporates WWII-era naval bunker
The Art Gallery of New South Wales has received an ambitious new extension, courtesy of Pritzker Prize-winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. The project features significant sustainable design and incorporates a World War II-era fuel bunker as a unique exhibition space.
The extension, named Sydney Modern, is a standalone building that almost doubles the available exhibition space of the existing 151-year-old art gallery. It's located on a prominent spot near the Sydney Opera House and 3XN's award-winning Quay Quarter Tower.
The building is arranged into a stepped overall form, creating a series of accessible terraces, and is centered around a large welcome plaza and new exhibition spaces, with art research and education areas. The decommissioned WW II fuel bunker, meanwhile, once held oil for Australia's navy and provides a 2,200-sq-m (23,680-sq-ft) exhibition space, with a large column-free gallery for contemporary art.
"Our vision has been to transform the Art Gallery into an art museum campus with seamless connections between art, architecture and landscape," said Art Gallery of New South Wales director Michael Brand. "I am incredibly proud to now be welcoming visitors to our expansion, which has such a strong sense of place and such an innovative display of art. With the support of the NSW Government, our donors, staff, artists and a wide community of supporters, our vision is now a reality. This is especially significant given the challenges we faced during the past three years of construction with the impact of climate bushfires, the global pandemic and the record-breaking rainfall."
Impressively, 100% of the building's energy needs are met by renewable energy, including a roof-based solar panel array. A rainwater capture system provides water for irrigation and cooling and around 8,000 sq m (roughly 86,000 sq ft) of rooftop greenery is installed. Landscaping duties were handled by McGregor Coxall and Kathryn Gustafson, who added over 50,000 plants.
The total cost for the Sydney Modern came in at AUD 344 million (roughly US$230 million). It recently opened to the public and hosts a range of international and Australian artworks, including a large collection of aboriginal art.