In light of the $500 million upgrade that will transform the Powerhouse Museum, Create Infrastructure and the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences is calling on all designers to submit their plans for the revamped museum, as part of a design competition. 

Tuesday’s announcement cemented the future of the Powerhouse Museum. Coupled with the new $1.1 billion Powerhouse Museum to be built in Parramatta, the Berejiklian Government has spent an amount of the State Budget on cultural works not seen since the construction of the Sydney Opera House. 

The competition requires architects to create a place that is true to architect Neville Wran’s original vision, while touching it with a contemporary brush. The remodelled museum will be a day and night precinct, in line with the NSW Government’s desire to create a 24-hour economy reminiscent of the harbour city’s former glory.

The revamp will see the building be re-oriented towards Ultimo’s park and pathway the Goods Line and its adjacent precincts. A public square will be created at the rear of the building that will connect the museum to Tech Central, Pyrmont Peninsula and its subsequent metro development upon completion, as well as existing precincts such as Darling Harbour and Chinatown.

The building was initially earmarked to be closed by the government, but following a large public outcry that implored Berejiklian to keep the iconic museum’s doors open, the Premier reversed her decision. The funding made public on Tuesday outlines the pivot the government has made on the museum, which has educated the minds of visitors since its opening in 1988.

When completed, the museum will host a range of design and fashion exhibits, as well as playing host to a multitude of exhibitions and programs from across the globe. The new Parramatta Powerhouse will house new and existing science and technology pieces curated by the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, as well as its existing showpieces, such as the Boulton and Watt Engine, Locomotive No.1, and the Catalina Flying Boat.

“The Powerhouse Museum’s collection has incredible breadth, telling the great stories of design from the industrial age to the great design achievements at the beginning of this century,” says Don Harwin, NSW’s Arts Minister.

“Over 30 per cent of the Powerhouse collection sits in decorative arts – what better place to display these incredible objects than at the historic Ultimo site?”

The Ultimo precinct will house a ‘creative industries precinct’, that will give creatives a studio and working space. More than 5,000 regional and remote students from across NSW will further their design and fashion education through immersive experiences at The Academy, which will provide residential accommodation within the museum precinct.

The allocated amount in the budget will cover the design competition and its approval processes. The funding will be formally announced by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on 22 June. The design competition is now underway. For more information, click here.