Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta International Design Competition



Positioned at the intersection of arts and sciences, the Powerhouse museum is a unique Australian institution with an internationally-significant collection that spans history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration.

The new museum has been nearly five years in the planning and will have a simple but profound agenda: to deepen understanding of human ingenuity and explore its impact on people’s lives in Australia and around the world. Across all programs, the approach will be hands-on, educational, interactive and family-focused.

Through collaborations with culturally-specific community organisations, an international exchange program and work with exhibition and research partners, the new museum will set a benchmark for culturally-diverse programming.

The MAAS collection – which began in 1879 with the Industrial, Technological and Sanitary Museum at the Garden Palace in the Botanic Garden for the Sydney International Exhibition – now comprises more than 500,000 objects. These include a 1785 Boulton and Watt steam engine that features on the UK £50 note and the Catalina flying boat that made the first flight across the South Pacific to South America in 1951.

The museum’s extensive collection has long been a drawcard. In addition, a range of in-house developed national and international partnership exhibitions have provided a changing array of offers. MAAS’ curators have partnered with prestigious international institutions to bring the best experiences from around the world to Australia in a series of exclusive and Australian premiere exhibitions. The museum has also curated a compelling program of original shows and loaned the collection internationally.

The Powerhouse’s programming is informed by the museum’s commitment to working with the best Australian and international partners; to making the collection more visible and accessible; and to building longer-term relationships with audiences, including reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

The museum organisation, known as MAAS, currently operates from three sites: the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo (opened in 1988), Castle Hill (now the Museums Discovery Centre) and Sydney Observatory in The Rocks.

From its foundation, MAAS has nurtured the belief that a successful, more culturally diverse, innovative society is based on the creative use of knowledge. The best ideas emerge from a culture that values experimentation, interdisciplinary conversation and an openness to the unexpected.

Further details can be found in the Search Statement.