The Sydney Modern 'State Significant Development Application' is now on public exhibition and available for comment until Friday, 15 December 2017. The Sydney Modern expansion to the Art Gallery of NSW fulfils the Gallery’s need for more display space whilst also respecting and amplifying public use of the surrounding landscape, retaining and celebrating significant trees and enhancing the accessibility of the precinct. The Landscape design includes a number of publicly accessible outdoor spaces that will allow for the display and enjoyment of art, including a public art garden, entry plaza, courtyards and three accessible roof terraces.

A network of eight unique landscape spaces have been developed reflecting the Australian landscape through the use of native planting and existing topography. The Sydney Modern will become a globally-linked cultural campus in an urban nexus that respects and creatively engages with the living heritage of the site. Interior spaces merge seamlessly with exterior zones, while the overall layout echoes the contours of the land. The arrangement of the new buildings will increase public accessibility through the space resulting in a new collaborative cultural landscape for the public to experience and enjoy art.

An Art Garden provides a central public lawn and a pivotal landscape connection between the new and existing buildings whilst the Berm Garden provides a tiered lawn space that also serves as a buffer to the Eastern Distributor situated below it.

Between the new extension and the existing gallery will be the Entry Plaza - an open-sided, roofed culture-rich plaza inviting in the city beyond, providing an active civic space and an enhanced entry point capable of hosting educational and cultural events that links the precinct through landscape, culture and art.

Publicly accessible Roof Gardens will be situated on three of the six pavilion roofs delivering an additional 572 sqm of Australian native planting and landscape. The landscaped edges will enhance views to the surrounding city whilst reducing stormwater runoff and absorbing urban heat. The project team has worked closely with the Royal Botanic Garden in species selection to ensure maximum biodiversity benefits. For example, planted Australian wildflowers, being nectar-rich and shaped to attract pollinators, will help to attract and sustain Sydney’s native bee population by providing a diverse source of pollen and nectar. The Roof Garden was developed in consultation with Elke Haege (secretary of the Sydney Bee Club and an executive committee member of the Amateur Beekeepers Association) to create a suitable environment for the solitary bees.