The largest cultural investment since the Sydney Opera House, the new Powerhouse Museum will be the first State cultural institution located in Western Sydney – in Parramatta, the geographical heart of Sydney.
The Powerhouse Parramatta will establish a benchmark for museums as an institution that is innately flexible. It will be the biggest museum in NSW and plans to welcome over two million visitors in its first year. Seven large exhibition spaces will provide more access than ever before to the half a million objects in the Powerhouse Collection.
The new Powerhouse in Parramatta is centrally located in the Parramatta CBD on the bank of the Parramatta River. It offers access to an array of transport hubs, full access to the river frontage and contributes to Parramatta’s many open and public spaces.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been developed as part of the State Significant Development Application for the new Powerhouse in Parramatta.
The EIS assesses the expected construction and operational impacts of the project. This includes the proposed construction program, a range of environmental and social factors and the measures the project team will take to mitigate any impacts.
This is a critical stage in the planning process and will shape the future of the project.
The EIS for the Powerhouse Parramatta is currently on public exhibition.
You can view the full EIS and a make a formal submission to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment here.
A series of factsheets have been developed (see ‘library’) to guide you through the Environmental Impact Statement.
Engaging with the local community is an integral part of the planning process. The NSW Government has been listening to the comments and concerns of the community and other stakeholders since the project announcement in 2015. Community engagement has been ongoing through 2020 as part of the planning process. We would like to thank everybody who has provided feedback on the project to date which has helped shape the EIS.
Contact the project team
If you have any questions or would like to subscribe to project updates, please contact the Project Team using the details below:
Has the project been approved to proceed?
Powerhouse Parramatta is currently in the early planning stages. Infrastructure NSW, on behalf of the NSW Government, has lodged a State Significant Development Application with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). As part of the development application, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared, to outline any potential environmental impacts and what measures will be put in place to minimise them. The community is invited to review the EIS, and can make a submission directly to DPIE, who will then review the State Significant Development Application and consider all submissions before making a determination (decision) on the project.
What elements of the new Powerhouse qualify it as a museum, as it has a number of spaces with a variety of functions?
The new Powerhouse will be the largest museum in NSW. The museum will feature 18,000 sqm of exhibition and public spaces to showcase the Powerhouse Collection.
How much of the exhibition space would be dedicated to permanent collections, verses interchanging spaces?
The new Powerhouse will include seven exhibition spaces that will enable the delivery of a constantly changing program that provides new levels of access to Powerhouse Collections. In addition to the education program, the Powerhouse Parramatta Precinct will create spaces for cultural and community events and programs.
How does the size of exhibition spaces compare between the Powerhouse in Parramatta and the Powerhouse in Ultimo?
The new Powerhouse will include 18,000 square metres of exhibition and public spaces, compared to the current Powerhouse Ultimo which has 15,708 square metres.
The new Museum will feature seven large scale, flexible presentation spaces of unprecedented scale with the largest being 3,000 sqm (column free and 20 metres clear height) to showcase the Powerhouse Collection. Details on the individual exhibition spaces will be in the EIS.
How will people travel to the new museum?
Visitors to the new Powerhouse will be able to easily access the new precinct from Parramatta bus and train stations, and Parramatta Wharf which is located just 500 metres from the new precinct. In addition, new and improved transport options, like the Sydney Metro West and Northwest rail links and Parramatta Light Rail will provide efficient transport services from the Harbour CBD to Greater Parramatta.
During the planning and design process, the project team is working with the City of Parramatta to carefully consider the Civic Link and its connectivity to the Parramatta CBD, river and Powerhouse precinct. The Civic Link is a pedestrianised public space that spans across four city blocks through the heart of the Parramatta CBD, connecting Parramatta Square and the transport interchange to River Square and the Powerhouse precinct. There will be no parking at the Museum site to encourage visitors to utilise the multi-modal transport options available.
Why has the site been selected?
The NSW Government has selected the museum site and finalised the purchase of land from the City of Parramatta. The site was selected because of its strong links to current and future transport infrastructure and its proximity to Parramatta CBD and connectivity to the broader Parramatta Cultural precinct.
Is the site flood prone? Will the Collection be damaged?
As part of the design selection process, extensive consideration was given to ensure the safety and protection of the Powerhouse Collection. The design for Powerhouse Parramatta ensures that the collections will not be compromised by a flooding event. The ground floor has been designed above 7.5m to protect all exhibitions from a one in 100-year flood event. Flooding issues are addressed in further detail in the EIS.
How does the location consider First Nations Peoples, women's history and post-contact history?
The EIS outlines that a comprehensive interpretation strategy and plan will be developed in consultation with the community to celebrate the multiple histories of the site as part of the detailed design process.
Will the existing heritage buildings be impacted?
There are two local heritage buildings on the Powerhouse Parramatta site that will be directly impacted by the Museum. Consideration has been given to several site constraints as well as the placement of the new museum buildings and public domain. It has been determined that both the Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace buildings cannot be retained due to these constraints. We are aware the community place high value on these buildings and a comprehensive interpretation strategy will be developed as part of the EIS to celebrate the multiple histories of the site. Themes will be outlined in the EIS and further explored during detailed design.
Is there a need for creative residences at the museum as there are a number of hotels in the area?
The Powerlab residences are an important part of the Powerhouse Paramatta program. They will not operate as a hotel, they are short-term accommodation facilities for visiting scientists, researchers and artists’ who are working with the Powerhouse Collection and will be managed by the Powerhouse. The Powerlab residential studio program will, at any one time, support 40 national and international researchers, artists and scientists to live and work at the Powerhouse Parramatta. Residency stays will vary from 1 week to 12 months depending on the project and program at the museum.
Will the accommodation be available to lease or purchase?
No, the Powerlab accommodation will be managed by the Powerhouse as part of the Museum’s broader education, research and community programs.
How will the retail spaces be used?
The new Powerhouse will have a retail mix of food and beverage, lifestyle, culture, wellbeing and convenience.
What detail can be provided regarding the impacts on local business with the opening of new food and beverage venues at the new museum?
Up to two million visitors are anticipated for the first year of opening. This presents an opportunity for businesses and the Powerhouse team to work together to provide the right retail spaces that the community and visitors will benefit from.
How much will the new Powerhouse cost?
On 28 April 2018, the NSW Government announced a $645 million investment in the Museum.
Why was the design selected?
The design was the result of an international design competition in 2019. The winning design by globally renowned architects from Moreau Kusunoki and local partner Genton, was unanimously supported by the Powerhouse Precinct Jury. Feedback on the design from the jury members included:
What if I don’t like the design?
The winning design by globally renowned architects from Moreau Kusunoki and local partner Genton, was unanimously supported by the Powerhouse Parramatta Jury.
Architectural design is very individual and we appreciate that not everyone will support the design. Such sentiments have been common on some of Australia’s most iconic structures including the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
Can we see the unsuccessful designs?
All of the finalists' designs can be viewed here.
Why are you continuing to consult during COVID-19?
Engaging with the local community is an integral part of the planning process, however given the current circumstances of COVID-19 we will not be holding public meetings.
Why are you holding webinars instead of community meetings?
The NSW Government is proceeding with digital consultation on some projects to keep our infrastructure program on track during this challenging period.
We have had a strong response to the consultation to date. During March and April, we sought feedback from the community and key stakeholders. During the consultation period, 224 stakeholders and 1,718 community members were directly engaged, and 3,707 comments were received.
What is happening now?
The Environmental Impact Statement for the Powerhouse in Parramatta is currently on public exhibition until 21 July 2020. This is a critical stage in the planning process and will shape the future of the project.
The community are invited view the full EIS and a make a formal submission to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment here.
Where can I find more information?
We will continue to update the community as the planning progresses. If you would like to join our mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been developed as part of the State Significant Development Application for the new Powerhouse in Parramatta. The EIS for the Powerhouse in Parramatta is currently on public exhibition until 21 July 2020 and can be viewed here.
18 December 2019
The design for the new Powerhouse Museum has been selected following an international design competition.