Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)

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 (Photograph: VirtualWolf)
Photograph: VirtualWolf
 (Photograph: Graeme Churchard)
Photograph: Graeme Churchard
 (Photograph: Creative Commons)
Photograph: Creative Commons

Once the administration offices of the Maritime Services Board, this waterside museum was overhauled head to toe (well, almost) in 2011 and re-opened in March 2012 with light, airy, uncluttered interiors, more floor space and a boxy new facade. It's not just good looks, either: the rooftop café and sculpture terrace, high-tech education centre, and 120-seat lecture theatrette and forecourt are all worth checking out.

And the original sandstone heart is still there. “We wanted to keep the old building but provide something next to it that says immediately that this is a contemporary building,” says MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE.

Inside, the galleries themselves are clean, logical and open – with long vistas to entice and draw you in further. While the design of the exterior is about drawing attention, the opposite is the case for the interior. “The most important thing is the art,” says architect Sam Marshall. “In the perfect gallery there would be no architecture visible. For most of the MCA’s exhibitions they install walls, change colours and put different surfaces in. That requires a really simple space with a really simple circulation system.”

By: Darryn King


Venue name: Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
Address: 140 George St
The Rocks
Opening hours: Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun 10am-5pm; Wed 10am-9pm
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  • Galleries Until Friday August 31 2018 Free

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