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Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

Australia Architecture News - Jan 24, 2019 - 05:02   3264 views

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

Australia’s New South Wales Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, has launched the open global search for an outstanding, world class team, with exceptional skills in design and placemaking, for the landmark new Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta, Sydney.

The open two-stage competition will welcome both Australian and international design teams and actively encourages creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

The centrepiece of the precinct is a 24-hour museum, a new global cultural icon, that will be built on the banks of the Parramatta River in Sydney’s newly designated Central River City, one of the fastest-growing parts of the region. The initiative’s centrepiece is the Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta, Western Sydney, Australia. 

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

Aerial view of Parramatta looking towards Sydney CBD. Image © Mark Merton Photography

The new museum is focused on excellence and innovation in the applied arts and sciences. The Powerhouse Precinct encompasses the museum, the public spaces around it and a pedestrian bridge over the Parramatta River.

At the geographical heart of Sydney, the Powerhouse museum represents a major investment by the NSW Government. The new museum will house Australia’s largest and most advanced planetarium with ultra-high-resolution 3D video and multi-channel immersive audio. The museum will deliver Australia’s first dedicated learning space devoted to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

A total of 18,000 sqm of purpose-built exhibition and public spaces will enable the museum – which was founded in the late nineteenth century as the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) and whose major site is currently in Ultimo – to embrace a new curatorial strategy of integrated and immersive programs.

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

Aerial view of Parramatta. Image © Salty Dingo

The competition is being organised by independent specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 22:00 AEDT / 11:00 GMT Monday 18 March 2019. Further details, including how to enter, are given on the competition website.

"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," said Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin.

"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."

Mr Harwin encouraged both local and international architects to enter the design competition: "We are looking for the best designers from across NSW, Australia and internationally to create this new cultural landmark in Parramatta."

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

View along Parramatta River towards the site from the west. Image © City of Parramatta Council

Interested teams will need to demonstrate capability as a lead architect on a built project of comparable complexity and program of at least AUD $200M 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 AUD $400M). International teams will need to partner with a registered Australian architect.

At least five finalist teams will be selected at stage two and each finalist team will receive an honorarium of AUD $150,000.

The designs produced by the shortlisted teams during stage two will be shown to the public in a physical exhibition and online gallery and the project client, Create Infrastructure, will be seeking public feedback on the proposals before the international jury meets.

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

View of the site from the north bank of the Parramatta River (facing south). Image © MRC / Dianna Snape

The jury will be chaired by Naomi Milgrom AO, who received her Order of Australia (AO) for business and community leadership and philanthropy. The much-admired MPavilion in Melbourne is commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organisation that exists to initiate and support great public design, architecture and cultural projects.

Full details of the jury who will assess the concept design submissions — which will also include MAAS CEO Lisa Havilah, Australian architect Wendy Lewin and international architect David Gianotten of OMA — will be announced later in the process.

The competition process has been endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). The winner announcement is expected in the second half of 2019.

Jury Chair and other Jurors are composed of: Naomi Milgrom AO - Australian business leader and philanthropist, David Gianotten - Managing Partner of OMA, Wendy Lewin - Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, Lisa Havilah - Chief Executive of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Craig Limkin, Special Adviser to the Jury - influential leader with over 15 years of experience in large scale organisations.

Sydney launches international design competition for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

Nighttime aerial view of Parramatta. Image © Airview Aerial Photography

Wrap-up for the competition:

  • Global open two-stage competition calls for creative collaborations for new Sydney icon
  • Twenty-four-hour Powerhouse museum will be home to 18,000 sqm of purpose-built exhibition and public spaces, Australia’s most advanced planetarium and its first dedicated learning space devoted to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics)
  • Honorarium for each of (at least) five finalist teams set at AUD $150,000
  • Deadline for submissions 22:00 AEDT / 11:00 GMT Monday 18 March 2019

Top image: View across the river towards site (facing east). Image © MRC / Dianna Snape

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