It is the studio's first major building commission in the country since landing the high-profile Melbourne Federation Square nine years ago (see AJ 16/07/1998).
The practice, which now has offices in east London, China and Melbourne, was selected thanks to a 'distinctive and dynamic' 8,000m2 scheme which will triple the size of the existing gallery.
As well as new, specialist galleries on the first floor for both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, there are also plans for a new library, 'society' lounge, shop, café and mini-theatre.
The new 'back-lit' facade will be made from black, oxidised stainless steel panels.
Practice director Peter Davidson, who was born in the area, is delighted by the win. He said: 'The project provides an opportunity to create a contemporary building of national significance which will contribute to Newcastle's vibrant arts community.'
Designed with engineers Arup, the project is due for completion in 2010.