Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
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Update (July 2, 2020): The MCA began welcoming back visitors back to the gallery on Tuesday, June 16. The 22nd Biennale of Sydney, 'Nirin', is on display, and enhanced health, safety and social distancing measures are in place. The Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am-5pm, with a closure on Mondays. The MCA Store, MCA Cafe, Sculpture Terrace and Graze Restaurant are also now open.
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.”
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