Competition to design Australia’s Powerhouse Precinct

Australia’s New South Wales Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, has launched a global search for a team to design the new Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta, Sydney.

Australian and international design teams are invited to enter. The centrepiece of the new precinct will be the 24 hour Powerhouse Museum on the banks of the Parramatta River.

The museum will feature the largest planetarium in Australia at 30m wide with ultra-high resolution 3D video and audio. The building will also have 18,000sqm of public and exhibition space, compared to 15,708sqm at its current location.

The new location will also include dedicated play areas and education labs devoted to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as well as state-of-the-art exhibition halls to host major international interactive exhibitions and art displays.

Independent specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) have organised the competition, and the deadline for Expressions of Interest is 11:00 GMT Monday 18th March.

A “once-in-a-generation” competition

Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, said: “I am delighted to open this competition as we fulfil our promise to the people of Western Sydney to deliver a major cultural institution they can be proud of.

“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.”

Applying teams will need to demonstrate capability as a lead architect on a built project of comparable complexity or provide evidence of their ability to deliver a buildable, memorable facility exemplifying design excellence within the construction budget.

In stage two, shortlisted teams will produce designs to show to the public for feedback, before the international jury meets.

Five teams will be selected at stage two, and each will receive an honorarium of AUD $150,000.

The Powerhouse Museum is the major branch of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney. Early works on the new museum will begin in 2019 and the venue is expected to open to visitors in 2023. The existing Powerhouse will stay open for business before the relocation.