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SANAA wins contest for £250m Sydney Modern gallery

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SANAA has won the high-profile contest to extend the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney

The Pritzker Prize-winning studio defeated four rival finalists – including Kengo Kuma & Associates – to land the prestigious ‘Sydney Modern’ project.

Melbourne-based Sean Godsell Architects, Kerry Hill Architects of Singapore and Mumbai’s RMA Architects also made the final round.

The shortlist

  • Kengo Kuma & Associates Tokyo
  • Kerry Hill Architects Singapore
  • SANAA Tokyo
  • Sean Godsell Architects Melbourne
  • RMA Architects Mumbai

The announcement comes nearly 15 years after SANAA’s competition winning plans to overhaul Sydney’s nearby Museum of Contemporary Art were abandoned.

Planned to complete in 2021, the latest £250 million project will double the size of the city centre art museum and create a new cultural plaza linking it to the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens of NSW.

Gallery director Michael Brandsaid: ‘The SANAA concept is at once subtle and spectacular in its design. It responds to and respects the extraordinary beauty of the competition site through a series of pavilions that reach out to the Domain, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour and Woolloomooloo.’

He continued: ‘The subtle profile of the pavilions complements and preserves the history of the existing gallery building creating spaces that bring people together and foster a sense of community, imagination and openness.’

He added: ‘Sydney is a global destination and art museums play a key role in attracting and inspiring both local and international audiences. The concept is futurist in its thinking about art museums and the visitor experience, and will be transformative for the gallery and for Sydney.’

SANAA co-founder Kazuyo Sejima said: ‘I am very much looking forward to learning more about the history, the collection, and diverse environment to develop the design into one that is fitting to this beautiful landscape.’

The winner announcement comes five months after David Chipperfield Architects failed to make the shortlist for the high-profile project.

The London-based studio was among twelve international firms – including Shard mastermind Renzo Piano and Tate Modern architects Herzog & de Meuron – who were invited to compete in the competition’s first anonymous stage last October.

The full longlist

  • Candalepas Associates Sydney
  • David Chipperfield Architects London
  • Fender Katsalidis Melbourne
  • Herzog & de Meuron Basel
  • Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAATokyo
  • Kengo Kuma & Associates Tokyo
  • Kerry Hill Architects Singapore
  • Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Madrid
  • RPBW (Renzo Piano Building Workshop)Genoa
  • RMA Architects (Rahul Mehrotra Architects)Mumbai
  • Sean Goodsell Architects Melbourne
  • Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects New York

Jury members included Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Porter and Australian Pritzker laureate Glenn Murcutt.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales will develop a final concept with SANAA over the next twelve months.




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