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Sydney Modern

An expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW.


The Art Gallery of NSW opened its new building to the public on 3 December 2022, an architectural and cultural landmark for everyone to enjoy. 

The completion of the Sydney Modern Project is a once-in-a-generation transformation of the state’s 151-year-old Art Gallery, creating an art museum campus comprising two buildings connected by an art garden on Gadigal Country overlooking Sydney Harbour. It is the most significant cultural development to open in Sydney in nearly half a century. 

The Art Gallery is the first public art museum to receive a 6-star Green Star design rating from Australia’s Green Building Council. The expansion meets the evolving expectations of audiences for a 21st century cultural institution. The design almost doubles exhibition space to attract more of the best national and international exhibitions to Sydney. It also creates a prominent new destination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. 

Infrastructure NSW delivered the project on behalf of the NSW Government and the Art Gallery. 

The new building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA with Architectus as executive architect, and the contractor was Richard Crookes Constructions.

Public benefits  

  • Doubled exhibition space to showcase more of the State’s outstanding art collection and attract more major national and international exhibitions to Sydney. 
  • Dynamic new galleries to show different types of spaces for new forms of art. Prominent destination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture. 
  • Dedicated spaces and facilities for learning and participation, with innovative and interactive programs. 
  • Enhanced digital capabilities to expand engagement with schools, communities, artists, and visitors in the Gallery and remotely.  
  • Maximised open space across the site, integrating the building with the landscape, including more than 3,400sqm of accessible roof ‘art terraces’ and courtyards.  
  • Improved 24/7 public access across the site and to the wider eastern cultural precinct for all visitors and an improved universal pathway with 2 new lifts to better connect Woolloomooloo with the CBD. 
  • Wider economic benefit to the NSW economy of more than $1 billion over the next 25 years. 
  • Revitalised original building with restored architectural features, more space for art and an enhanced visitor experience. 
  • Expanded forecourt with two black granite reflecting pools, new landscaping, seating and shade to create an expanded civic area.  


  • The Art Gallery is the first public art museum in Australia to achieve a 6-star Green Star design rating – the highest environmental standard for design. 
  • 100% of the new building’s energy is powered by renewable energy, with more than 10% generated by 735 solar panels covering nearly 1,500sqm of roof top space. 
  • Rainwater capture and harvesting for re-use in irrigation and cooling towers.  
  • Adaptive reuse of industrial infrastructure, transforming a former WWII oil tank into a spectacular art space. 
  • More than 8,000sqm of green roof and landscaped areas are planted with some 50,000 Australian native species.
  • Innovation also extended to the construction to deliver a more sustainable process across the project
  • 95% of construction and demolition waste was diverted to recycling 
  • 34% greener cement by reducing Portland cement in all concrete mixes.


Sustainability, workforce and materials fun facts infographic

Download the Sydney Modern fun facts infographic.