A scheme by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA has been unanimously selected as winner of an invited competition to design a new building for Sydney's Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese practice was chosen over 11 others for its "subtle" series of pavilions that are designed to "sit lightly on the land" in order to respect the "extraordinary beauty" of the culturally renowned site.
“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,” said Art Gallery of New South Wales Director Dr Michael Brand. “The concept is futurist in its thinking about art museums and the visitor experience and will be transformative for the Gallery and for Sydney."
Jury member Juhani Pallasmaa added, "The complex of pavilion-like units does not dominate the site, or attempt to project its own overwhelming architectural image. It creates a respectful, refined and balanced dialogue with the existing Gallery building as well as the larger park setting. The various urban and landscape components of the site – the Domain, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the escarpment towards the Woolloomooloo Bay – are united into a relaxed and well-functioning entity with a natural flow of movement and views. The overall atmosphere of the project with its setting is unconstrained, cultured and stimulating.”
The Art Gallery of NSW will work closely with SANAA in the next twelve months to develop a final concept in consultation with staff and key stakeholders and will seek the views of the wider community as part of this process.