Sydney Modern

I had faintly hoped to be able to make it to see the new building of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at the time of its opening this weekend, a project long planned. They won the competition in 2015, having previously won the competition to design Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1997 which would have been their first international project after their 21st. Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa and before they did the Louvre-Lens, the New Museum in New York, and much else.

It was nearly the last museum building I saw under construction before lockdown – a very lightweight building on the hillside immediately north of tte AGNSW’s very conservative original classical building which first opened in May 1897, with a series of three square pavilions, mostly glass. It looks interesting: a building that is hard to judge in photographs because it’s about the experience of exploring it. I like the fact that its architect, Ryue Nishizawa, says ‘We want [people] to use our architecture in ways we don’t anticipate’.


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