Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta International Design Competition

Salty Dingo

The Site

The site for the new museum and precinct is located toward the northern edge of Parramatta’s CBD on the southern riverbank of the Parramatta River.

Parramatta is located approximately 20km north-west of Sydney CBD. The city has a young and vibrant population and is known for its diverse multicultural population – over 145 languages are spoken and over half of residents speak a language other than English as their first language. The city is the economic capital of Greater Western Sydney and an important hub for medical, legal, financial, education and professional services and is currently experiencing rapid growth. Today, over 245,000 people live in the City of Parramatta and this is expected to increase to 400,000 by 2027.

The site is located on the traditional lands of the Burramattagal, a clan of the Darug who first settled along the upper reaches of the Parramatta River over 60,000 years ago. The word Parramatta’ is thought to be Darug in origin: an approximation of Burramatta – the word for place where the eels lie down [to breed]’ (within the Parramatta River).


Bounded by the river to the north, the site is predominantly north-facing. The location benefits from close proximity to key public transport hubs and is well connected to open space and public areas. As a key feature along the river, the new museum should look to enhance this important public space – a core element of the City of Parramatta Council’s future vision for the city.

The new precinct will be part of a wider programme of urban renewal within Parramatta, which will include improved transport infrastructure and the development of new cultural and commercial facilities. As part of this transformation, a pedestrian bridge to link the new museum with the Riverside Theatres complex is included within the competition brief.

The ambition is for the new museum to act as a catalyst to enhance other existing and planned arts and cultural offerings in Parramatta, as well as act as the cultural anchor for the Central River City in NSW Government’s regional plan, A Metropolis of Three Cities’.

Competitors should note that the site presents a unique design challenge. Alongside the opportunities for development, competitors will need to consider the site’s Indigenous heritage, significance and associated cultural perspectives, adjacent mixed-use developments, the two heritage buildings on site, and the close proximity of the Parramatta River.

For more details on the site, including constraints and opportunities, please read the Search Statement.