The Art Gallery of NSW's Forecourt Is Set to Be Transformed with New Pools and Public Spaces

Additional seating, new greenery and two reflection pools have just been unveiled as part of the multimillion-dollar Sydney Modern Project.
Ben Hansen
Published on August 11, 2021

As part of the Art Gallery of NSW's multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion, the main entrance directly outside the gallery's historic building is set for a makeover which will include new greenery, architectural pools and additional gathering spaces.

Dubbed the Sydney Modern Project, the AGNSW renovation is set to be completed in 2022 and will see the cultural institution double its current exhibition space, incorporating an entirely new 7830-square-metre building and a gallery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

The current forecourt is mainly occupied by parking spots, located metres away from The Domain. The new plan will see this space make way for expanded public gathering spaces including two shallow reflection pools. The pools will be created from polished granite to reflect the front facade of the iconic Sydney building.

Designed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson and architecture firm GNN, the forecourt aims to revitalise the AGNSW's main entrance as a welcoming space for the public and connect it to the Sydney Modern Project's new gallery and outdoor art campus.

"Kathryn Gustafson's design for our new civic forecourt will provide visitors to the Art Gallery more space to gather and better connects our magnificent site on Gadigal Country to The Domain, the Royal Botanic Garden and the city," AGNSW director Michael Brand said.

Sydney Modern Project 2018 render

Funded by a $344 million public and private collaboration comprised of $244 million from the NSW Government and $100 million raised by private donations, the Sydney Modern Project has been in the works since 2017 and was officially given the go-ahead by the government in 2018. It remains on track to be completed next year, despite any delays the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused.

The gallery has managed to stay open during construction, however is currently closed due to Greater Sydney's current lockdown. If you're craving a trip around the Art Gallery of NSW, the home of the Archibald Prize is looking to help as much as possible with virtual tours of this year's Archie available for free online.

Construction on AGNSW's Sydney Modern Project is slated for completion in 2022.

Published on August 11, 2021 by Ben Hansen
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