One of the most exciting cultural projects in Australia, the creation of the Powerhouse Parramatta marks the largest investment in arts and culture in New South Wales since the Sydney Opera House.
The AUS$400m initiative will transform and renew the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, one of Australia’s oldest and most important cultural institutions and is intended to create a new global icon.
The open two-stage competition, endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects, was launched by Australia’s NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, in January 2019. It welcomed both Australian and international design teams and encouraged creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.
At the close of 2019, French/Japanese and Australian team, Moreau Kusunoki and Genton, were announced as the winner, beating 73 other teams to triumph with their multi-faceted Powerhouse vision. This returns the river to the community, creates generous open space where nature and people can interact, and presents the museum as an innovative cultural platform that is activated by visitors and locals.
Significantly, the project demonstrates a change in how Sydney thinks about itself, its culture and its communities – for the first time, a State cultural institution will be sited in Western Sydney, in Parramatta, one of the fastest-growing parts of the region.
NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, said:
‘The Powerhouse will enrich the cultural heart of Parramatta. It will be a place that drives and champions cultural creativity and social connection. Through the design leadership of Moreau Kusunoki and Genton, it will be a distinctive architectural statement and a landmark cultural destination of international significance in one of Australia’s fastest growing and most culturally diverse regions.’