The Powerhouse Architecture Commission 2021 is the third in a series of annual architecture projects through which the museum provides emerging Australian architects with an opportunity to design and build an innovative project that considers the site, location and diversity of Powerhouse visitors and local community. Following the success of Four Periscopes by Trias and Agora by Penhale & Winter, Cadeau by Newcastle-based studio Curious Practice will be presented as part of the Sydney Design Week 2021 program. Located outside the Powerhouse at the northern end of The Goods Line in Ultimo, Cadeau is not a ‘stand-alone’ building or singular gesture.
The design concept draws upon the idea of cross-pollination, which enables different genetic species to symbiotically exist and gain mutual benefit, improving their resistance to disease and changes in the environment. The architects responded to the commission brief with a modular, movable pavilion that could adapt and flex with the changing environmental landscape, to be enjoyed by either individuals or large groups. Cadeau plays with scale, reframing Australian vernacular architecture to create new meaning and focus, formed by oversized, exaggerated shapes and extrusions designed to spark curiosity.