The National Art School’s (NAS) historic Darlinghurst Gaol campus in East Sydney has undergone an $8.7 million dollar redevelopment, with the Postgraduate Centre now a state-of-the-art facility.
The new Postgraduate Centre will provide over 50 new studios with an array of exhibition spaces, new sculpture workshops, seminar rooms and office spaces for students, educators and the public to enjoy.
While practical, the building’s re-design respects the heritage of the building and the School’s artistic tradition. As part of the redevelopment, the building was returned to its original configuration, with the gaol’s workshops reinstated, complemented by a light-filled studio and project gallery.
The National Art School has long been known for the accomplishments of its talented graduates and staff. Historically, influential sculptor Rayner Hoff taught and later directed at the school from 1923, and would go on to design the sculptures adorning the Hyde Park ANZAC Memorial in the 1930s. Perhaps most visible of late are the works and accolades of visual artist Fiona Hall, this year’s representative at the Venice Biennale.
Acting director of NAS, Michael Snelling, admits that “It is no mean feat completing a redevelopment of this scale on a historical site and we are proud to be delivering the project on time and on budget”. Snelling commends the work of chief architect Barry McGregor, the architect responsible for the Sydney Conservatorium and the refurbishment of Belvoir Street Theatre.
The $8.7 million dollar budget was covered largely by the New South Wales State Government, with a sizeable contribution from the Ian Potter foundation. NSW minister for the arts, Troy Grant, was pleased that the expansion of the iconic institution would allow it to continue its significant role within the NSW and wider Australian arts community.
With the addition of these new facilities, NAS is set to manage an unprecedented number of first year student applications and renewed community interest.
An evening reception to celebrate the redevelopment will take place at the National Art School on Thursday 6 August 2015.