Powerhouse Parramatta Winner Revealed

John Hill
17. December 2019
Image © Moreau Kusunoki / Genton

The team of Moreau Kusunoki and Genton has won the competition to design the new Powerhouse Parramatta, Sydney, what is considered the largest arts and cultural investment in New South Wales since the Sydney Opera House.

The Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta International Design Competition, a two-stage open competition administered by Malcolm Reading Consultants, drew 73 teams consisting of more than 500 individual firms. France's Moreau Kusunoki and Australia's Genton were unanimously selected by a jury chaired by Naomi Milgrom, creator of the MPavilion.

Image © Moreau Kusunoki / Genton

The project will relocate the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) from Sydney's Central Business District (CBD) to a new "24-hour arts and cultural precinct" on the banks of the Parramatta River about 20 km northwest of the CBD. The new building will enable MAAS to develop a new curatorial strategy to display some of its over 500,000 objects and deliver what is billed as "Australia’s first dedicated learning space devoted to STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

Image © Moreau Kusunoki / Genton

The winning Moreau Kusunoki / Genton scheme is covered in a steel exoskeleton that enables large column-free interior spaces -- seven flexible "Presentation Spaces" -- and in-between spaces "for rest, relaxation and reflection." The lowest level opens to the landscape along the riverbank, aligning itself with the notion of a publicly accessible, 24-hour district. At the top of the building, the steel lattice structure gives way to a mass timber structure.

Image © Moreau Kusunoki / Genton
The five teams that Moreau Kusunoki / Genton beat in the second stage of the competition:

  • 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)
  • Steven Holl Architects (United States) and Conrad Gargett (Australia)

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