Moreau Kusunoki (France) and Genton (Australia)
We envisage Powerhouse Parramatta as a hyper-platform, a building with many functions and limitless potential. The built form will tread lightly on the site, creating a porous ground plane. The architecture will open up towards the river, providing generous public space and creating an open 24-hour precinct. A three-dimensional layer of interstitial space, known in Japan as ‘mâ’ will provide transparent connecting spaces full of natural light. Seven large-scale presentation spaces are at the core of the Powerhouse. These immense volumes will act as continual social and cultural amplifiers. The exterior structural frame will hold these spaces, facilitating dynamic programming by providing total interior flexibility. The Powerhouse will transcend scale to exist simultaneously as both intimate and iconic.
The Competition Jury is unanimous in recommending the team of Moreau Kusunoki and Genton as the winner of the Powerhouse Parramatta International Design Competition.
The Jury found the proposal to be a standout, simple and elegant solution, with a strong identity derived from the building’s architecture and structure. The generosity of space, transparency and lightness of the structure created a ‘sense of joy’ that encapsulates the ambitions of Powerhouse Parramatta.
The public realm was considered to be generous and welcoming, with the potential to develop into an exceptional open space for Parramatta, incorporating a clear continuation of the civic link and connecting the city and the river. The design maximised the public realm and incorporated spectacular views of the surrounding city and landscape.
In response to initial engagement undertaken with the Powerhouse and the local Indigenous communities, the design proposes to include Indigenous elements with a specific focus on teaching and learning, celebrating the sophistication of Indigenous knowledge from this place, through time. The team demonstrated a strong understanding and willingness to engage with local Indigenous communities to further enrich the project throughout the next stages of the design process.
The Moreau Kusunoki and Genton team was inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘mâ’ – an in-between space which is undefined and activated by its users. This concept was reflected across the design in the inclusion of spaces throughout the building described by the team as: ‘a quiet place for reflection, a lively place for interaction, a safe, neutral space for meetings, conversations and the creation of new shared memories’.
The placement of circulation within the building is intuitive and visual, overlooking the main public space of the scheme and setting up a direct relationship between the movement of people and the theatre of public space.
The Jury noted that the Chief Executive of the Powerhouse Museum and the project team look forward to working with the Moreau Kusunoki and Genton team during Stage Three to provide direct input and collaboratively develop the design.
The Jury warmly endorses the Moreau Kusunoki and Genton team’s attitude to linking across the river and to improving the riverine setting. The scheme showed exceptional promise in this respect. The Jury anticipates that the integration of the wider landscape offers the potential for improved value and placemaking for the city of Parramatta.
The Jury praised all of the finalists for their hard work and commitment to the project and noted the high level of response received from all design teams. The Jury wished to record their appreciation of the outstanding quality of the finalist submissions.
Naomi Milgrom AO
Powerhouse Parramatta International Design Competition Jury