September 21, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: A render of the Atrium in the Sydney Modern Project | Credit: Produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales

Major construction is complete on the most significant cultural infrastructure development in Sydney since the Opera House opened nearly half a century ago, with the Art Gallery of New South Wales set to open its major new gallery on December 3 and its five new event spaces in January 2023.

“The expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW bolsters our reputation as one of the world’s cultural capitals,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet of the impending opening.

“The new building is an architectural masterpiece, befitting of some of the world’s finest artworks and we can’t wait to welcome the public in December.

“Our $244 million investment into this project will attract tourism, help inject $1 billion into the NSW economy and most importantly, inspire the next generation of artists.”

The new building sits alongside the Art Gallery of NSW’s existing venue.

New event spaces

The new building has a Six Star Green Star design rating, acknowledging its strong sustainability credentials, and will offer five new event spaces, including two outdoor terraces.

Both the Harbour Terrace and the more elevated Viewing Terrace can accommodate cocktail events of up to 300 attendees, with views out over Woolloomooloo Bay. The Viewing Terrace will also offer views of the Botanic Gardens and Sydney’s city skyline.

Indoor venues include the new café for up to 80 seated at long tables, the Art Gallery Hall for banquet dinners of up to 300 and lunches up to 200 attendees and the Atrium which has capacity for up to 1,000 standing, with access to a new sculpture garden.

The new event spaces can be booked now for events from January 2023.

“Given the scale of our ambitions for the largest cultural project in Sydney in half a century, I’m very proud we’re delivering it on time and on budget with generous funding from the NSW Government and our longstanding community of donors,” said president of the art gallery’s board of trustees, David Gonski AC.

All up, the Sydney Modern Project is costing $344 million, with over $100 million raised from private donors.

The Art Gallery of NSW is located in the greenery of the Domain, beside Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens at the edge of Sydney Harbour.

A render of the completed Sydney Modern Project | Credit: Produced by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales