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NSW Government announces international design competition for new Powerhouse Museum

NSW Government announces international design competition for new Powerhouse Museum
January 24, 2019

Moving ahead with its plans to relocate Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum to a new site in Parramatta, the NSW Government has launched an international design competition for the new venue.

Announcing this week that the new precinct will comprise a new building to house a ‘24-hour’ museum on the banks of the Parramatta River as well as a public space and a pedestrian bridge, NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin advised “this competition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a purpose-built Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta that will welcome people from across the world and NSW.

“We are looking for the best designers from across NSW, Australia and internationally to create this new cultural landmark in Parramatta.”

The two-stage competition will begin with an initial expressions of interest stage.

Competition organiser Malcolm Reading Consultants said in a statement “interested teams will need to demonstrate capability as a lead architect on a built project of comparable complexity and program of at least $200 million or, alternatively, provide evidence of their ability to deliver a buildable, memorable facility exemplifying design excellence within the construction budget for the base building, public realm and pedestrian bridge - set at $400 million. International teams will need to partner with a registered Australian architect.”

Following stage one, at least five teams will be selected to proceed to stage two. Each team will receive an honorarium of $150,000.

The finalists’ designs from stage two will be exhibited physically and online for public comment prior to jury deliberations.

The jury will be chaired by Australian entrepreneur Naomi Milgrom whose eponymous foundation commission the annual MPavilion installation in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens.

Milgrom will be joined by Australian architect Wendy Lewin of Wendy Lewin Architects, David Gianotten, Managing Partner-architect of OMA, and Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS).

The proposed new building will house 18,000 metre² of exhibition and public space, including Australia’s largest and most advanced planetarium. It will also include Australia’s first dedicated learning space devoted to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The museum will be the centrepiece of the ‘Central River City’, part of the Greater Sydney Comission’s ‘three-city’ plan for Sydney.

The NSW Government announced the sale of the current Powerhouse Museum site in the inner city suburb of Ultimo in 2014 and confirmed its relocation to Parramatta in April 2018.

With the NSW election approaching, the Labor opposition announced earlier this year that should it win in March, it would instead provide $45 million to upgrade and retain the Powerhouse Museum in its current location, while also building “a $500 million world-class cultural institution at Parramatta.”

The Australian Institute of Architects has welcomed NSW Labor’s announcement.

Images: View of the site of the proposed Powerhouse Museum Precinct in Parramatta (top) and a concept of the new facility (below).

Related Articles

27th July 2018 - Powerhouse Director to step down after public funds used to pay for fashion party

14th June 2018 - Bunjil Place wins ‘Architecture of the Year’ award at international design competition

12th June 2018 - Massive tower developments to fund relocation of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum

7th June 2018 - Winning design chosen for Adelaide’s new arts and cultural hub

30th April 2018 - New features announced for relocated Sydney Powerhouse Museum plus plans for current Ultimo site

4th October 2017 - New MPavilion opens in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens

5th August 2017 - NSW Government to purchase Parramatta riverfront site for new Powerhouse Parramatta

24th April 2017 - Sydney Museum Alliance says moving Powerhouse Museum collection to Parramatta ‘absolute madness’


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