The NSW Art Gallery (AGNSW) will get a new forecourt as part of the Sydney Modern project, a huge extension of the beloved venue that will add a brand new building and transform existing spaces.
Designed by internationally renowned landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson – known for her work on the Eiffel Tower site in Paris and the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park in London – the new civic space look will be fabulous.
Gustafson’s redesign removes the parking lot at the front in favor of adding 850m² of additional public space. This includes two polished granite reflection pools in front of the grand gallery facade, with the existing historic low stone walls of the forecourt rebuilt and raised to provide plenty of additional seating. There will also be more trees planted to create shady spots so visitors can escape the sun.
The forecourt lighting will connect the main building to an open-air art campus, created around and between the existing gallery and the brand new building, which was designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architects SANAA and is currently under construction. AGNSW works side by side with the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain Trust to make sure everything connects seamlessly. Construction has already started and the entire modern Sydney project is expected to be completed at the end of next year. The main entrance on Art Gallery Road will be open everywhere.
“Open public spaces are more important than ever as we seek places of peace, reflection and celebration of the joy of life,” says Gustafson. “Our goal with the Sydney Modern Project is to create a flexible and welcoming place for all visitors, where they can connect with the natural and cultural environment of this beautiful place.”
AGNSW Director Michael Brand looks forward to seeing visitors explore the new spaces. “It will offer everyone an exceptional experience of art, architecture and landscape in one of the most beautiful urban sites in the world. The design of Kathryn Gustafson… As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, we look forward to the next 150 years and are delighted to create a new home for art that adapts to this time and generations to come.
Elsewhere in investing in artistic news (because we all need a bit of positivity right now), famous theater company Bell Shakespeare is getting classy new digs with a little help of a sudden $ 3 million thumbs up from philanthropic benefactor Neilson Foundation.
They are moving into new excavations at Pier 2/3 as part of the NSW government’s plan to establish the Walsh Bay Arts and Culture District. Bell Shakespeare’s new HQ includes a studio for rehearsals and events and a mini-theater with a view of Harbor Bridge, nicknamed the Neilson Nutshell. It will accommodate 296 spectators and can be set up in multiple configurations.
Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director Peter Evans said: “Not only will this help us establish our very first multi-purpose performance space, but it will also support our plans for an arts ensemble and support our programming for the next several years. It’s truly transformational, and we sincerely thank the Neilson family who have long supported Bell Shakespeare and continue to provide such extensive support across the arts sector.