Lightness and clarity
by Christopher Menz
The initial idea was for a new front door at the National Gallery of Australia. At least that is how Ron Radford, director of the Gallery, presented it to the one thousand or so guests in his remarks at the official opening of Andrew Andersons’ and PTW Architects’ Stage One ‘New Look’ at the NGA on Thursday, 30 September. Clearly, for the money involved and time taken it is much more than that, but doors certainly are a feature of the new wing. Newcomers to the NGA will now be able to find the entrance – a vast improvement. The main doors are visible from the street. For those who might miss them or even the building while driving past, there is a substantial new sign at street level on King Edward Terrace, emblazoned NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA, in raised metal letters. Large outdoor sculptures by George Baldessin and Thanakupi, and the remarkable site-specific, commissioned work by James Turrell, Within without, make it clear that this is definitely an art gallery.