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Six design teams announced for Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta

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Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, announced the six design teams shortlisted for the landmark new Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta, Sydney.

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, setting an international benchmark in cultural precinct design.

The competition – focused on a 24-hour museum that will showcase the internationally-significant Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) collection and support a dynamic program of changing exhibitions – welcomed both Australian and international design teams. It actively encouraged creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

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)

New South Wales Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, said:

“Having attracted 74 expressions of interest involving a staggering 529 individual firms from 20 countries, the level of global interest we received has more than justified our excitement in moving forward with this Western Sydney project.

“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.

“This major investment by the NSW Government will enrich the cultural lives of people in Western Sydney, boost the local economy, create jobs and draw visitors from Australia and world-wide.”

Jury Chair and Chair of the Shortlisting Panel, Naomi Milgrom AO, said:

“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.

“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.”

Professor Barney Glover, MAAS Trust President, said:

“We look forward the next stage of the competition, which represents the next step in establishing the Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta, a place that will inspire and connect people of all ages and backgrounds and integrate into the cultural life of Parramatta and Greater Sydney.”

MAAS Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah, said:

“The Powerhouse Precinct will set a new benchmark in cultural placemaking for Greater Sydney and will be a symbol of a new approach to creative activity and engagement. The design will honour MAAS’ extraordinary and rich collection, providing a platform for constantly changing exhibitions and immersive experiences.

“The Powerhouse Precinct in Parramatta will be the sixth time that the Powerhouse has moved and transformed in response to the needs of a changing city. This new chapter will carry forward the legacy of the 140-year-old institution by creating a place that is welcoming and inclusive of the diverse communities of Greater Sydney.

“MAAS are excited by the expertise and original thinking shown by the shortlisted teams and welcome the next stage of the competition.”

Craig A. Limkin, Executive Director, Create NSW and Special Adviser to the Jury, said:

“Parramatta’s new Powerhouse Precinct is the keystone of MAAS’ cultural masterplan to increase access to its collection and community engagement across Greater Sydney.

“As one of the key strategic priorities in the NSW Cultural Infrastructure Plan, the new museum will enrich the creative ecology of NSW and bring new audiences to MAAS.

“Having led the development of this project and knowing the high expectations we have set, I am thrilled to see a shortlist with such promise, dynamism and capability.”

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

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.

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

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.

The competition is being organised by independent specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). For further updates please follow the competition website.

Source: Malcolm Reading Consultants

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