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Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney Unveils Redevelopment Plans
The redevelopment will transform the MCA to create a truly national and international institution.

SYDNEY.- The Museum of Contemporary Art has today revealed plans that will see the institution transformed into a global hub for contemporary art and ideas by 2011, including the building of a new northern wing and the refurbishment of its current headquarters on Sydney’s Circular Quay.

MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor unveiled the redevelopment plans with MCA Chairman Andrew Love and MCA Foundation Co-Chair Simon Mordant, at a briefing in the MCA galleries.

“The redevelopment will transform the MCA to create a truly national and international institution serving the audiences of the future,” said Ms Macgregor.

The redevelopment, designed by Sydney architect Sam Marshall and to be implemented in partnership with the NSW Government Architect, involves building a contemporary extension linked to the northern end of the MCA’s existing building on West Circular Quay.

The proposal responds to the demands of increasing attendances, which have exacerbated the poor accessibility and circulation in the existing building. More than half a million people now visit MCA exhibitions each year, with a further 100,000 using the building’s popular venue spaces.

Education is a central focus, with the new building housing a National Centre for Creative Learning with workshop spaces for schools and after-school youth programs. There will be new facilities for the Museum’s renowned Bella program for young people with special needs, a digital classroom, multi-media room, library and resource room and a lecture theatre/new media events space.

New media, enhanced online capabilities and improved facilities will enable the MCA to deliver a greater range of educational programs to more Australians living in remote and regional areas.

”As the only institution in Australia dedicated to both collecting and exhibiting contemporary art, living artists are at the heart of all the MCA’s activities. The new facilities will give people across Australia the opportunity to engage with the artists of today,” said Elizabeth Ann Macgregor.

New and improved gallery spaces in the new extension and the existing building will allow a greater presence for the MCA permanent collection. This includes important works by contemporary Australian and international artists and a significant collection of early Indigenous bark paintings.

A prominent new entrance links Circular Quay with George Street. Visitors enter through one central level which provides access to galleries over three floors.

“Creating a new highly visible entrance that serves visitors from both the Quayside and George Street and simplifying the circulation with galleries on three floors is a dynamic solution that complements the existing building,“ says MCA Foundation Co-Chair Simon Mordant.

The new MCA will maximise its prime location by creating a new informal rooftop café and sculpture terrace with spectacular views of Sydney Opera House and the harbour. Two new external covered commercial function spaces with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour will be created on the top level of the existing MCA building.

MCA Chairman Andrew Love said: “The new function spaces and café will not only provide for the needs of our audience but will help to provide financial stability for the Museum into the future.”

Environmentally sustainable design (ESD) and the reduction of the MCA’s carbon footprint are also key elements of the redevelopment. The plans incorporate a seawater heat exchange with a fully integrated air-conditioning system offering energy savings of up to 30%. Other initiatives include ESD compliant lighting, energy monitoring throughout the building, insulation of gallery spaces, as well as water and materials recycling.

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