NSW Art Gallery forecourt to transform with swimming pools, car park removal

Fueled by recycled tank water, the shallow pools were made of highly polished granite that would be reflective even if empty in a drought.

The water was seen as soothing and refreshing, Mr Brand said, and the pools were a “practical and beautiful solution,” as the gallery didn’t want to eclipse Gilbert Bayes’ two main equestrian bronzes or turn the forecourt into sculpture park.

“For me it’s one of the most beautiful places in the afternoon when the sun goes down in the west and the honey sandstone is shining and now it’s going to be even better,” he said. .

The heritage stone walls in front of the existing building where once the horses and strollers are dropped off, visitors will also be raised and reused to provide common seating.

A drop-off area for buses, taxis and carpooling vehicles and limited accessible parking will remain. To facilitate access, the steps from the estate to the art gallery path will be transformed into a gentle ramp.


The wide path between the existing 19th century building and the Sydney Modern will be landscaped with plantations endemic to the region.

The palisades will go up in a few days. Work on the forecourt will continue until next year, with the Sydney Modern due to be completed by the end of 2022.

Architect Andrew Andersons considers the Vernon facade of the Art Gallery of NSW to be Australia’s finest 19th-century public building.

The design of the forecourt with the elegant ponds by Kathryn Gustafson would give a respite from the heat while making the entire enclosure even more attractive.

The doors to the Art Gallery of NSW have been closed by order of public health.

“It is terribly tragic and heartbreaking to see the three major exhibitions and all closed and we are waiting to see how this epidemic unfolds and when we can reopen,” said Mr Brand.

Mr Brand did not rule out a short extension of Hilma af Klint, The Secret Paintings which is due to close on September 19 after a two-week opening.

Secret paintings must make way for the next blockbuster in the gallery, Matisse: Masterpieces of life and spirit from the Center Pompidou, Paris which is due to open on November 20.

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