NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the development application for the Art Gallery of NSW include?

The Sydney Modern development application will be built beside the existing Gallery, increasing the floor space by 62%. It will serve future generations of artists and visitors from NSW, interstate and around the world.

The proposal aims to achieve these outcomes:

  • more space for the display and enjoyment of Australia’s art
  • state-of-the-art spaces to host more international exhibitions from around the world
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture being front and centre in the new building
  • new facilities and opportunities for learning and participation
  • an all-weather Entrance Plaza, offering a vibrant new gathering place for the city
  • a 2-acre public art garden that will link the existing and new building
  • adaptive re-use of disused WWII oil tanks previously inaccessible to the public
  • double school student visits to 200,000 per year
  • increase visitation from an average of 1.2 million people to over 2 million per year
  • the highest environmental standards for any public gallery in Australia
  • economic and cultural dividends to Sydney, NSW, and Australia.
Why did the Gallery propose the changes?
  • A review of the Gallery’s capabilities revealed that the building:
    • is beyond its capacity to accommodate the current number of visitors and staff
    • cannot accommodate any increase in patronage or public programming, such as schools and other educational programs
    • needs to remain competitive with the cultural precincts of other cities around the country, especially in light of further planned expansion of interstate galleries in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane
    • requires more space to enable the display of more of the State’s art collection and the hosting of more major exhibitions from around the world.
Who assessed the proposal?
  • The Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) assessed the proposal as a State significant development, as it has a capital investment value over $10 million.
  • For more information about the SSD assessment process, please refer to the Planning Process tab.
Where can I find more information?

To find out more about the project, you can visit the Gallery’s website.


For the full list of application documentation and submissions received during public exhibition, please refer to our Major Projects website.

Page last updated: 09/04/2019