The latticed framework produces a transparent building, providing opportunities for visual links between the public spaces and exhibition spaces, with users of the ground plane being able to catch glimpses of exhibitions. The exterior framing also maximises the interior space and flexibility of the museum’s seven large presentation spaces. These large-scale exhibition spaces enable the museum to deliver a dynamic and constantly changing program to provide users with distinctive experiences across the fields of science, astronomy and technology.
Inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘mâ’, the proposal will connect various undefined interstitial spaces. Activated by users, these spaces can be quiet reflective spaces, lively venues for interaction, or safe neutral meeting/conversation spaces.
As part of the new Powerhouse, the Powerlab will consist of 60 creative residential studios, facilitating the collaboration between researchers, scientists, artists and students from around the world. The Powerlab will contain digital studios, a research library, as well as co-working, education and community spaces.
Minister for the Arts Don Harwin commented: “We are thrilled to be appointing Moreau Kusunoki and Genton to design the new Powerhouse Museum. Their design is a bold visualisation of how contemporary cultural institutions can provide the inspiration, education and enjoyment that today’s audiences need and expect.”
Jury Chair, Naomi Milgrom AO, described the project as “an elegant, robust and intelligent solution, [whereby] the building’s architecture and structural expression will create a landmark cultural destination of international significance.”
“The proposed spatial organisation, transparency and lightness of the structure encapsulates the ambitions of the new Powerhouse,” said Milgrom, adding that “the external public realm will be generous, offering an exceptional public open space for Parramatta that will significantly extend the civic link and reinforce the important relationship of the city to the river.”
The Jury praised the project’s generous public realm, seeing the placemaking potential of the riverfront setting to integrate with the wider city of Parramatta, creating an iconic destination connecting the city to the river.
The Powerhouse precinct aims to be an active 24-hour precinct. In addition to daytime programs, night-time programs aim to contribute to the growth of Sydney’s night-time economy.
Moreau Kusunoki and Genton explained, “We envisage the new Powerhouse Museum as a hyper-platform, a building with many functions and limitless potential. The building will tread lightly on the site, with the architecture opening up towards the river, providing generous public space and creating an open 24-hour precinct.”
The new Powerhouse will be the largest cultural investment since the Sydney Opera House. It will also be the first State cultural institution to be located in Western Sydney.
Cover Image: The latticed framework produces a lightweight and transparent building while the porous ground plane offers generous open space for the public. (Image: Moreau Kusunoki)