Sydney Modern Project Update: April 2018

Image of the Sydney Modern Project as produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

I’m pleased to advise that the Gallery has lodged its Response to Submissions Report to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for the Art Gallery of New South Wales expansion – the Sydney Modern Project.

I would like to thank everyone who provided submissions in response to the public exhibition of the State Significant Development Application for the project at the end of 2017. Your feedback is important to us.

While the focus of the Response to Submissions Report is addressing submissions requesting changes to the project, a total of 70 submissions also supported the Development Application. We were pleased to receive further support for the new building design by our architects SANAA and endorsement of the reasons the Gallery has provided for an expansion (such as the significant increase in space to share more of the State’s extraordinary art collection with the public, and to enable the Gallery to host more of the world’s and Australia’s best art exhibitions in NSW).

The submissions of support also welcomed the tourism and economic boost an expanded Gallery would generate, and supported, in many instances, the public utilisation of the disused WWII oil tanks as part of the expansion.

The Gallery has considered all feedback and some changes have been made to the project in response to the submissions from the public and government agencies. The Report identifies the key themes raised in submissions, provides a response to issues raised and outlines proposed changes to the project in response to submissions. The Report is available for viewing online here.

Image of the Sydney Modern Project as produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

The key themes in public submissions were: ‘loss of open space’; ‘design of the new building’; ‘visual impacts’; ‘transport and accessibility’; ‘trees and vegetation’; ‘alternative locations’; ‘impacts on the Royal Botanic Garden’; ‘operation of the Gallery’; and ‘construction impacts’, amongst other issues.

While a comprehensive summary of all responses and proposed changes to the development is outlined in the Report, key changes made by the Gallery in response to submissions are:

  • Refinement of the design to further increase the area of public, open space
  • Planting 24% more trees than currently exist in the vicinity of the site
  • Planting more than double the number of trees that are proposed to be removed as a result of the construction of the new building
  • Changing the material of the external façades of the new building to warm-toned natural stone to better complement the sandstone façade of our much-loved existing building and the landscape setting of the Domain
  • Significantly increasing the area of photovoltaic cells to further improve the environmental sustainability outcomes of the project
  • Changes to proposed traffic arrangements along Art Gallery Road to further improve access for visitors, pedestrians and vehicles to the precinct.

The NSW Minister for Planning and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment will now consider the Gallery’s State Significant Development Application, all submissions received and our response to those submissions, in determining the outcome of the Development Application.

Since lodging our Development Application in November 2017, the Gallery has continued to consult with stakeholders and neighbours to help inform our response to submissions – building on engagement we have been undertaking since 2015.

Engagement with the community continues to be an important part of the expansion of the Gallery. Please continue to share your views on the project so we can ensure the delivery of an expanded Gallery that benefits the local neighbourhood and precinct, as well as Sydney and New South Wales more broadly.

Thank you again for your interest in the project to date.

Michael Brand