Six Finalists to Develop Designs for Iconic New Parramatta Precinct

Six Global Architecture Teams Have Been Shortlisted to Develop Designs for a Landmark new Powerhouse Precinct in Sydney’s Parramatta.

The Powerhouse Precinct is one of the largest cultural infrastructure projects currently being undertaken in Australia.

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 museum is set to showcase the internationally-significant Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences collection and support a dynamic program of changing exhibitions.

The Powerhouse Precinct, boasting 18,000 square metres of purpose-built exhibition spaces, public realm and a pedestrian bridge, represents a major investment by the NSW Government – with the base construction budget set at $400 Million.

In January 2019, a two-stage international design competition was launched, aiming to identify and select an outstanding design team and concept design for the precinct.

Endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects, the competition welcomed local and international design teams and strongly encouraged creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

On Thursday NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, revealed that the first stage of the competition attracted an impressive 74 submissions from 20 countries, made up of 529 individual firms from five continents.

The finalist international-Australian and Australian teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • 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)

“I am particularly thrilled to see our finalist teams include Australian lead 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,” Minister Harwin said.

The six finalists will now visit the Parramatta site in June 2019 and will have three months to develop their concept designs, which will be displayed to the public in a physical exhibition and online gallery before a jury meets to determine the successful design.

Influential Australian entrepreneur, Naomi Milgrom AO, is Jury Chair and Chair of the Shortlisting Panel.

Ms Milgrom has an acclaimed track record for bringing future-minded architecture and design to the community and has collaborated with some of the world’s leading architects and urban thinkers through her MPavilion program (regarded as Australia’s principal architecture commission) and the Living Cities Forum (an annual gathering of leading global architects and design innovators).

“We are grateful to the Australian and international architectural community for the enthusiasm and rigour that ran through the responses. We were excited to have such a field of designers to choose from,” Ms Milgrom shared.

“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,” she commented.

Each finalist team will now receive an honorarium of $150,000 to develop design concepts, with a winner set to be announced in late 2019.