The content or the container
The artworld and increasingly the ordinary visitor have learned to expect extravagant architectural statements in new or redeveloped art museums or at the very least marble floors and awe-inspiring heights, which may explain the sense of let-down expressed by so many at the reopening of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in late March with its new wing MCA 2. Instead they were greeted with concrete finishes, museum standard ceiling heights (5.3m) and a modestly sized two-way entry linking Circular Quay and George St, with a reception desk and a straightforward glass-enclosed bookshop. Nothing to ooh and ah over, no magnificent doors covered in gold leaf as in the NGA, no glassy atriums as in GOMA, no cathedral heights as in NGV Federation Square. The roof-top café has been described as IKEA, and there is a distinct sense of umbrage being taken by those who feel out of place on a plywood chair and a laminex table eating food priced in similar non-fancy vein. The exterior - a geometric arrangement of lightweight glass reinforced concrete panels – has been called lego-land, and clearly not up to scratch. No reflections of the Quay on curtain walls for the delectation of photographers. Definitely lacking in magic.

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