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Shortlist revealed for Powerhouse Parramatta Precinct

The large-scale, state-of-the-art arts precinct in Sydney’s Western suburbs includes the centrepiece Powerhouse Museum – with an architect to be appointed via competition. The shortlist has been revealed including five international/Australian teams and one all-Australian team.


May 10th, 2019

The New South Wales Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin has announced the six design teams shortlisted for the new Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta, Sydney.

The finalist international-Australian and Australian teams are:

  • AL_A (UK) and Architectus (Australia)
  • Bernardes Architecture (Brazil) and Scale Architecture (Australia)
  • BVN Architecture (Australia) and Carlo Ratti Associati (Italy)
  • CHROFI (Australia) with Reko Rennie (Australia)
  • Moreau Kusunoki (France) and Genton (Australia)
  • Steven Holl Architects (United States) and Conrad Gargett (Australia)

Among the international names is an all-Australian team – CHROFI and Reko Rennie. The Sydney-based architecture studio will collaborate with Aboriginal artist Reko Rennie. As the only all Australian in the line up, it will be interesting to see how the teams’ design differs from the rest, factoring a lived knowledge and cultural sensitivity.

Sydney Opera House at Vivid Sydney 2016, with artwork by Reko Rennie.

Sydney Opera House at Vivid Sydney 2016, with artwork by Reko Rennie.

The Powerhouse Precinct is the largest cultural infrastructure project currently being undertaken in Australia. It will transform and renew one of Australia’s oldest and most important cultural institutions, creating a landmark in cultural precinct design.

The centrepiece of the new arts and cultural precinct – the Powerhouse Museum – will house Australia’s largest and most advanced planetarium with ultra-high-resolution 3D video and multi-channel immersive audio.

The competition focused on a 24-hour museum that will showcase the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) collection and support a dynamic program of changing exhibitions, which encouraged creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

“I am particularly thrilled to see our finalist teams include Australian-led firms, collaborations between emerging and seasoned practices and between Australian and international talent who have been inspired by the opportunity this bold and exciting project offers,” says Harwin.

The finalists were selected by a shortlisting panel led by Jury Chair, Naomi Milgrom AO and including competition jury members Kim Crestani, City Architect, City of Parramatta Council; David Gianotten, Managing Partner/Architect, OMA; Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive, MAAS; Wendy Lewin FRAIA, Principal, Wendy Lewin Architect; and David Riches, Head of Projects, Infrastructure NSW.

No design was sought at the competition’s first stage – competitors made submissions based on an outline response to the project brief, past experience and team composition.

“This project’s success depends on having faith in creative talent and we achieved our aim – a shortlist strong in fascinating and new collaborations that showed the project’s Australian and international reach. The responses showed a deep interest in the project and its unique promise for the future,” says jury chair Naomi Milgrom.

Each finalist team will receive an honorarium of AUD $150,000. The competition process has been endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

The winner announcement is expected in late 2019.

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