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Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

© Dianna Snape


  • AL_A (UK)
  • Bernardes Architecture (Brazil)
  • BVN Architecture (Australia)
  • CHROFI (Australia)
  • Moreau Kusunoki (France)
  • Steven Holl Architects (US)

One of the most exciting cultural projects in Australia, the landmark Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta in the geographical heart of Sydney represents a major investment by the New South Wales Government.

The centrepiece is a 24-hour museum, a global cultural icon, to 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 new museum, which has a construction budget of AUD $400M, 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 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.

The open two-stage competition was launched by Australia’s NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin. It welcomes both Australian and international design teams and encourages creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

MAAS Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah, said:

‘This is a transformative time for arts and culture in Australia. The Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a renewed museum.’

The competition process is endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.