Art Gallery of New South Wales first public art museum to achieve 6 Star Green Star - Design rating

21 Nov 2018

21 November 2018

The growing importance of embedding holistic sustainability in our public infrastructure has been illustrated by the Art Gallery of NSW, which has achieved a 6 Star Green Star – Design review rating for its expansion, the Sydney Modern Project.

This means the Gallery is the first public art museum in the nation to achieve the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) highest environmental standard for design, exceeding its original five-star goal.

Sustainability initiatives include rainwater harvesting, extensive solar panels and a seawater heat exchange system for air-conditioning. There is also a significant focus on place, incorporating large areas of public outdoor green space.

GBCA CEO Romilly Madew congratulated the Gallery for its outstanding achievement, which reflected its commitment to creating and supporting sustainable communities.

She said the Sydney Modern Project illustrated the increasing application of Green Star in social and community infrastructure and the important role sustainable public space plays in defining our cultural identity.

“This vibrant space will set a new standard for what cultural precincts can and should be – engaging, innovative and sustainable,” Ms Madew said.

“The Gallery’s new building has been designed with thought and sophistication, displaying a modernity that will blend seamlessly with its historic surrounds and Sydney’s urban landscape.

“Of particular note is the dedicated vision of ensuring this gallery is truly a ‘public’ space, incorporating large areas of open green field, with close to two-thirds of the site remaining accessible 24/7.

“The Art Gallery of NSW provides a blueprint of excellence for other public arts spaces to follow, illustrating how, through sustainable design, architectural and cultural landmarks can be created that inspire in myriad ways.”

Art Gallery of NSW director Dr Michael Brand said he was delighted the Sydney Modern Project had achieved the highest environmental standards in design, exceeding the Gallery’s five-star goal.

“To be the first art museum in Australia to be awarded a 6-star Green Star design rating is a testament to the high-quality design of the Gallery’s expansion and our commitment to environmental sustainability. This helps set a new standard for what art museums can achieve globally and is a wonderful outcome for the Gallery’s Sydney Modern Project,” he said.

“Our Pritzker Prize-winning architects, SANAA, have delivered a design that is exciting, innovative and sensitive to our harbourside and parkland setting.

“We are creating a unique art museum experience in one of the world’s most beautiful cultural precincts that will inspire our growing audiences to engage with art, ideas, architecture and landscape in new ways,” Dr Brand said.

The Gallery’s new building is designed by world-renowned Japanese architecture firm, SANAA, whose portfolio includes such prominent projects as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, New Museum in New York, Rolex Learning Centre in Switzerland and Louvre-Lens Museum in France.

The design responds to the unique site, with a series of interlocked pavilions that cascade towards Sydney Harbour and Woolloomooloo, complementing and preserving the heritage significance of the existing Gallery building.

Construction of the Gallery’s new building is expected to commence in early 2019 for completion in 2021.