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NSW Government gives planning consent for new Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta

NSW Government gives planning consent for new Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta
February 13, 2021

The $840 million Parramatta Powerhouse project has been given planning approval by the NSW Government, with construction of the science and technology museum set to start by the end of the year following the dismantling of a historic villa.

Announced by NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, the planning consent includes 188 conditions, most notably covering the NSW Government’s plans to dismantle the 19th-century mansion known as Willow Grove - which sits on land the museum is to occupy - and relocate it elsewhere in Parramatta.

With an NSW Department of Planning assessment advising that the retention of Willow Grove would “severely compromise” the development of the site, planning approval was granted pending careful selection of an “appropriate setting” that would allow the building to be reused with increase public access.

The development, which has been promoted as being key to Parramatta’s tourism potential, will also include a greater amount of green space than originally proposed.

Announcing the approval, Minister Stokes said the inclusion of green open space as part of the overall plans will be beneficial for locals and visitors to Parramatta, advising “one of the great outcomes of this project is that a carpark on the foreshore is being replaced by a north facing, green public space on the banks of the Parramatta River.

“In addition to the new museum and arts and entertainment space, the plans include 1.5 hectares of public open space and a 30% tree canopy cover to provide shade.”

NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin added “now that planning consent has been secured, I am delighted as Arts Minister that Western Sydney will now have the biggest and best museum in NSW and first major cultural institution.

“With a focus on science and technology, Powerhouse Parramatta will be the museum’s flagship site and hold the revered Powerhouse collection it is renowned for.”

Once complete, the flagship Parramatta Powerhouse will include over 18,000 metre² of exhibition and public spaces, attract two million visitors each year and will be the first NSW Cultural Institution to call Western Sydney home.

Powerhouse Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah went on to say “Powerhouse Parramatta is the largest cultural investment since the Sydney Opera House and planning approval marks a transformative cultural moment for the communities of Greater Sydney and NSW.

“We are excited to be embarking on building an internationally significant museum that will connect young people and communities with our Collections and tell stories of ingenuity and innovation.”

“We look forward to continuing to expand our collaborations across the community to create a museum that reflects the extraordinary diversity of Greater Sydney. Powerhouse Parramatta will deliver dynamic exhibition, education and community programs that will bring cultural and scientific leaders from around the world and across Australia into Parramatta.

The winning design by Moreau Kusunoki and Genton was selected in December 2019. Three construction companies were shortlisted last year with the successful tenderer to be announced later this year.

Images: The Moreau Kusunoki and Genton design for the Powerhouse Parramatta. Credit: NSW Government/Moreau Kusunoki and Genton.

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5th February 2021 - Competition for design of Melbourne’s NGV Contemporary looks to Australian architects

8th January 2021 - Parramatta postpones its inaugural outdoor ‘Summer Nights’ event

26th November 2020 - The Australian Museum reopens to public with free admission following $57.5 million transformation

3rd November 2020 - Powerhouse Museum expands support of NSW Creatives with 2020 Residency Program

6th October 2020 - Thinkwell Group publishes white paper on museums in a post-Coronavirus world

22nd September 2020 - Powerhouse Museum partners with the Westmead Institute for Medical Research

8th September 2020 - Foundations set for Sydney Modern Project

7th September 2020 - City of Parramatta launches new arts funding program to support creative enterprises

25th August 2020 - Major public art installation unveiled in Sydney

5th July 2020 - NSW Government reverses plans to relocate Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum

29th June 2020 - Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum continues tours and extends exhibitions

29th May 2020 - City of Parramatta urges NSW Government to deliver on relocating Powerhouse Museum

8th April 2020 - Casula Powerhouse delivers free online programs

15th February 2019 - Carriageworks and Kaldor Public Art Projects partner for major art presentation

25th October 2018 - Parramatta Eels agree tenancy deal at Western Sydney Stadium

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

4th February 2016 - Landmark permanent exhibition set to open at ArtScience Museum in Singapore

27th November 2013 - Study reveals the impact of Public Art Museums

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