The Powerhouse Museum's controversial move to Parramatta is looking closer than ever, with designs for the new cultural behemoth revealed today. Arts minister Don Harwin announced that a team led by Japanese-French architecture practice Moreau Kusunoki and Australia’s Genton would create the new $645 million venue, which will stand on the banks of Parramatta River. It will be the biggest government investment in arts and culture infrastructure in NSW since the Sydney Opera House was built.
The new museum, called Powerhouse Parramatta, will be wrapped in a latticed exoskeleton, allowing people from around Parramatta a glimpse at the exhibitions, while providing views of the city and the river from inside the facility. The exoskeleton will evolve over different floors of the museum – a timber exoskeleton wraps the top of the building, but the lower floors have a steel lattice, which will elevate the building (and might just allay fears that the museum's collection could be destroyed when the river floods).
It will also feature an enormous ground-floor space, which can be opened up to create a riverbank stage. It will stand 20 metres tall and provide 3,000 square metres of column-free exhibition or performance space.
But the controversies are continuing for the Powerhouse move. The museum will predominately be built on a disused parking lot, but two heritage-listed buildings, Willow Grove and St George's Terraces, will be demolished to make way for the gallery, according to the ABC. The state opposition has also made its feelings about the designs pretty clear, with Labor arts spokesperson Walt Secord labelling the building "a monstrosity on stilts". He said it was a monstrosity on two levels: costly and ugly.
We'll be reserving our judgement until the building is completed, but you can take a look at more of the design renders below. The Powerhouse's Ultimo museum will close later in 2020 before the new Parramatta building is due to open in 2023.
Need a reason to visit the Powerhouse before its big move? Check out the spectacular Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson exhibition.