Powerhouse Ultimo

Expressions of Interest Open

The Design Competition is the next major step in the renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo. It is being led by Create NSW, Powerhouse and Infrastructure NSW alongside a jury of architecture and cultural industry experts chaired by Wendy Lewin, Commissioner, NSW Independent Planning Commission and Principal, Wendy Lewin Architects. A design competition advisor, CityLab is engaged to provide advice throughout the process.

The Expression of Interest phase for the upcoming Powerhouse Ultimo Design Competition closed at 12pm AEST Friday 12 August 2022.

Submissions are being assessed by the jury. As outlined in the Ultimo Design Excellence Strategy, a shortlist of at least five design teams will move through to the Design Competition, where teams will develop design concepts.

The renewal will see Powerhouse Ultimo deliver dynamic applied arts and sciences programming with a focus on design and fashion, presenting exhibitions that showcase the Powerhouse collection, international exclusive exhibitions and programs that support the creative industries.

It will deliver new and refurbished exhibition and public spaces, connecting Powerhouse Ultimo to the Sydney CBD, exploring opportunities to re-orient the Powerhouse to the Goods Line and connecting it with the city.

Powerhouse Ultimo will become a vitalising force in a vibrant precinct that actively contributes to the growing night-time and visitor economies.


Powerhouse Ultimo Design Competition Jury:

Wendy Lewin LFRAIA, Chair (NSW) is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and currently heads her own architecture studio. Since graduating in architecture from the University of Sydney she has held leading positions in private practice and is the recipient of State, National and International awards for her built work and contribution to architecture, education and the profession. She contributes to the public discourse on Architecture through her varied advisory and curatorial roles, national symposiums, and national and international exhibitions. Wendy is committed to design education and for over 35 years has taught at various universities including the University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS, was a visiting Professor at Hong Kong University and has chaired and participated in numerous State, National and International architectural design competition juries. Wendy is a member of the Design Integrity Panel for the Powerhouse Parramatta project and is an independent consultant to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. In August 2018 Wendy was appointed a Commissioner of the NSW Independent Planning Commission.

Abbie Galvin LFRAIA (NSW) is the 24th NSW Government Architect. Abbie brings to the role 30 years of experience in architectural practice on a wide range of project types that have been highly awarded, published and recognised internationally. Projects Abbie has led have been the recipient of more than 40 state, national and international architectural awards including the RAIA Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design, the RAIA Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture and the RAIA Blackett Prize for Regional Architecture, in addition to personal awards such as the AIA Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work in the field of Architecture. Abbie has been involved with the profession, the Institute of Architects and the Board of Architects for many years, is a regular speaker at universities and conferences nationally and internationally and chairs and participates as an expert adviser in many design advisory panels, taskforces and awards juries. Her focus on policy and advice enables Abbie to promote and leverage the long term benefits of great design within the built environment. In recognition of her extensive experience and contribution to the design industry, Abbie is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Peter Poulet LFRAIA (NSW) is the Central District Commissioner with the Greater Sydney Commission. He is a trustee of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Professor of Practice at Western Sydney University School of Architecture. Peter was the inaugural State Architect of Tasmania 2009–2012 and was the 23rd NSW Government Architect from 2012–2018. Peter’s projects have received numerous awards including the Horbury Hunt, the Blacket Award and an Australian Institute of Architects’ award. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects. 

Billie Tsien (US) was born in Ithaca, New York. She received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her Master’s in Architecture from UCLA. Billie has worked with Tod Williams since 1977 and in 1986 they formed the partnership of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners in New York City. In addition to her practice, Tsien serves as the Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice at Yale University School of Architecture. She is also engaged with many cultural institutions currently serving as the first Woman and Asian-American Chair of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and an active member of the Architectural League of New York, Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy of Design, American Philosophical Society, among many others. Select Projects (with Tod Williams): The Obama Presidential Centre (Chicago), The Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia), Asia Society Hong Kong Center (Hong Kong), David Geffen Hall renovation – public spaces (New York), The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City (Mexico), Hood Museum at Dartmouth College (New Hampshire).

Alison Page (NSW) is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman and is an award-winning Designer and Film Producer whose career spanning 24 years links Aboriginal stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design. She appeared for eight years as a regular panellist on the ABC TV show, The New Inventors and in 2015, was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame. She is Associate Dean Indigenous Leadership & Engagement in the Design Architecture and Building Faculty, University of Technology, founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency and in 2022, she was named Gold Medal winner at the Interior Design Excellence Awards. She is a Councillor with the Australian National Maritime Museum, Board Director of the Sydney Harbour Trust,  Art Gallery of South Australia and Aboriginal research group, Ninti One Ltd.

Annette Pitman is passionate about creating public spaces that inspire and delight, and leading the talented teams that deliver them. Since joining Create NSW, she has guided the delivery of Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, Powerhouse Museums and Theatre Royal and the development of a large pipeline of cultural infrastructure. Previously as a project director, she led some of Australia’s most transformational cultural and sport projects, including Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall Redevelopment and the Melbourne Park Tennis Centre Redevelopment. Her career spans public and private sector leadership roles in Melbourne, Sydney and the United States and has focused on project delivery, strategic planning and organisational development.

Lisa Havilah is the Chief Executive of the Powerhouse. Through her leadership she is establishing a new museum paradigm for one of Australia’s oldest and most important cultural institutions. The landmark renewal of the Powerhouse includes the creation of the museum’s new flagship, Powerhouse Parramatta; the revitalisation of Powerhouse Ultimo; the expansion of the Powerhouse Castle Hill and the digitisation of the Powerhouse Collection. From 2012–2019, 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. Previously, she was Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, where she pioneered an internationally renowned contemporary arts program that brought together culturally and socially diverse communities.