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Shortlist Announced: Powerhouse Ultimo Design Competition

Black and white image of Ultimo Power Station 1911September 8, 2022


Five leading Australian design teams have been shortlisted to participate in the Design Competition to renew Powerhouse Ultimo. Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said this was an important milestone in the renewal of the site with the jury of design and cultural leaders now tasked with selecting the winning design.

“The renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo is a truly momentous project for NSW that will deliver new and expanded spaces to present exhibitions showcasing the extraordinary Powerhouse collection, international exhibitions programs that support the creative industries, and dedicated fashion and design galleries,” Mr Franklin said.

“I’d like to thank the over 100 Australian architectural teams who registered their interest and stepped up to the challenge of developing bold, ambitious ideas to create a contemporary museum in the heart of Australia’s most international city.”

Powerhouse Chairman, Peter Collins AM QC said: 

“The opportunity to reimagine Powerhouse Ultimo for future generations has elicited interest from some of the finest architectural and design teams in the country, as is befitting of such a nationally significant cultural infrastructure project. It is with great optimism that we invite these five shortlisted teams to proceed to the next stage of the Design Competition.”   

Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah said the shortlisted design teams would now develop their vision and concept designs before presenting them to the jury.

“The Powerhouse is thrilled that these five extraordinarily talented and innovative Australian design teams have been selected to develop a concept for the renewal of the Powerhouse. We look forward to seeing bold and ambitious ideas that will place the museum at the very forefront of contemporary museum practice for the benefit of our communities,” Ms Havilah said. 


Architectus, Durbach Block Jaggers Architects, Tyrrell Studio, Youssofzay + Hart, Akira Isogawa and Yerrabingin submitting under the working title SPARK

BVN and Oculus with OCP Architects, TTW, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Transsolar Klima Engineering

Cox Architecture, Neeson Murcutt Neille, Other Architects, Hector Abrahams Architects, Sue Barnsley Design and Arup

John Wardle Architects, Billy Maynard, ASPECT Studios, Bangawarra, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Atelier Ten and Urbis

Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, JMD Design, TCL, Sibling Architecture, Freeman Ryan Design, Atelier Ten.

Further information on the shortlisted design teams and the Powerhouse Ultimo renewal can be found here.

– ENDS –


Ben Ingram | Office of the Hon Ben Franklin MLC | 0499 565 629

Kirsty Randles | Powerhouse | 0402 021 717

Wendy Lewin LFRAIA: spokesperson on the jury
Wendy Lewin is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and currently heads her own architecture studio. Wendy’s studio undertakes projects spanning multiple sectors including residential, commercial, cultural, and educational facilities. She has a deep interest in exhibition design and was a creative director for the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. Wendy Lewin is committed to design education and for over thirty years has taught at various universities including the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and Hong Kong University, and has chaired and participated in numerous state, national and international design competition juries.

Lisa Havilah: spokesperson on the vision
Lisa Havilah is the Chief Executive of Powerhouse. Through her leadership she is establishing a new museum paradigm for one of Australia’s oldest and most important cultural institutions. From 2012 to 2019, Lisa was the Director of Carriageworks. Under her leadership Carriageworks experienced extraordinary audience, artistic and commercial growth, becoming the fastest growing cultural precinct in Australia. From 2005 to 2011, Lisa was the Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, pioneering an internationally renowned contemporary arts program that brought together culturally and socially diverse communities.


Abbie Galvin LFRAIA Government Architect, GANSW
Lisa Havilah Chief Executive, Powerhouse
Alison Page Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement), Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney
Annette Pitman Interim CEO, Create NSW
Peter Poulet LFRAIA Central District and Southern District Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission and Professor of Practice, Western Sydney University School of Architecture
Billie Tsien AIA Founding Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

CityLab is a professional consultancy with a singular focus on making better cities through design expertise, strategic thinking and effective delivery. They are committed to fair and equitable procurement processes, ensuring the best ideas rise to the top. They work with both public and private clients to ensure each project is built on a strong foundation, with a rich brief, a rigorous procurement process and a collaborative network of advisors and jury members.

Powerhouse sits at the intersection of arts, design, science and technology and plays a critical role in engaging communities with contemporary ideas and issues. We are undertaking a landmark $1.4 billion infrastructure renewal program, spearheaded by the creation of the flagship museum, Powerhouse Parramatta; expanded research and public facilities at Powerhouse Castle Hill; the renewal of the iconic Powerhouse Ultimo; and the ongoing operation of Sydney Observatory. The museum is custodian to over half a million objects of national and international significance and is considered one of the finest and most diverse collections in Australia. We are also undertaking an expansive digitisation project that will provide new levels of access to Powerhouse collections.