See the citation from the jury for RMA Architects’ shortlisted scheme for the Sydney Modern Project, as well as the other finalists here
The scheme is conceived to take advantage of the natural landform of the site by embedding the new building in the landscape. This formal modesty allows the design concept to articulate a striking relationship between the existing and new buildings with most of the new spaces placed underground.
The scheme is porous and facilitates movement from the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Domain through the Gallery with a strong series of stepped terraces and ramps that reach down the site into Woolloomooloo.
The central concept of a ‘void’ connecting to both sky and earth is a powerful idea and the suggested creative programming would offer interesting ways of interpreting an art museum and its collection. Spaces created through the setting of a circular void in a rectilinear plan would provide unique spaces for curatorial creativity within the art museum context. The galleries for both contemporary art and temporary exhibitions are beautifully articulated spaces.
Through its deep commitment to the site and its potential for innovative programming the rigorously argued scheme presents a number of interesting ideas that address the concept of a 21st-century art museum.
‘The building is an armature for Art.
A Gallery should not be a singular image and overpower the artefacts; rather the site allows a plural dispensation of architectural strategies and form (or non-form, or earth-building)’