Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta International Design Competition


The Competition

The Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta International Design Competition is a two-stage process which began with an open Expression of Interest. The competition’s objective is to identify and select an outstanding design team and concept design for the new museum at Parramatta.

The competition aims to encourage creative and intellectual collaborations between established and emerging talent.

At the first stage of the competition, the project client, Create Infrastructure, was seeking creative multidisciplinary teams led by an architect. 

The focus of the Expression of Interest (which closed on Monday 18 March 2019) was on the core creative team (architect and creative partners). However, as part of their submission, competitors were asked to nominate preferred professional sub-consultants for landscape architecture, structural engineering and MEP/​services engineering. 

Additional supporting consultants, including cost consultancy, project management and exhibition design, will be procured separately. 

The competition is being run in accordance with the procurement requirements of the NSW Government and has been formally endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects. The competition is being managed by independent competition specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants. 

The competition jury will be chaired by Naomi Milgrom AO.


Create Infrastructure is seeking a creative and highly-experienced team, which is led by either a local or international architect with experience and demonstrated capability as a lead architect on a built project of comparable complexity and program of at least AUD $200M. Competitors were asked to demonstrate their eligibility as part of the stage one submittal. This example project did not need not be a museum or cultural facility. 

If a firm could not partner with an architectural firm that has the experience and demonstrated capability as a lead architect on a built project of comparable complexity and program of at least AUD $200M, the firm was required to articulate to the shortlisting panel the reason why they believed they could deliver a buildable, memorable facility exemplifying design excellence within the construction budget for the base building, public realm and pedestrian bridge (set at AUD $400M) and provide evidence. The shortlisting panel determined if this criterion had been met.

In addition, all teams were required to include an architectural practice that is registered in Australia to meet the registration requirements of the NSW Architects Act 2003.

Stage One — Expression of Interest

This was an open call for participation aimed at attracting the very best design talent to register their interest in the project. Stage One was open to all qualified architects and their creative collaborators who met the requirements as described in the Search Statement.

At Stage One, we were not seeking a design but a demonstration of qualifications: company information; details of the proposed team; relevant experience; and an initial response to the brief as set out in the Search Statement.

Please note the first stage is now closed. The shortlist of six teams was announced in May 2019.

Stage Two — Design Concept 

Stage Two is an intense design period for the shortlist of six teams. During this period, the shortlisted teams will attend a site visit and seminar in Parramatta and will receive further detailed briefing information. An honorarium of AUD $150,000 will be paid to each shortlisted team that submits a compliant tender. A technical panel will review the entries and produce a report for the jury, who will conduct interviews and select a winner. 

The designs produced by the shortlisted teams during Stage Two will be exhibited, physically and online, and Create Infrastructure will be seeking public feedback on the proposals. 

Further details can be found in the Search Statement.

Competition Timeline 

Stage One
Competition launched Thursday 24 January 2019
Deadline for questions 22:00 AEDT / 11:00 GMT
Wednesday 27 February 2019
Stage One Submission Deadline 22:00 AEDT / 11:00 GMT
Monday 18 March 2019
Stage Two (Anticipated)

Shortlist announced

May 2019
Tender stage launched  June 2019
Site visit June 2019 
Stage Two Submission Deadline September 2019
Jury Q4 2019
Winner announced Q4 2019