NSW commits $500m into iconic Powerhouse Museum

Popular Sydney museum the Powerhouse will be refocussed and expanded with $500 million in funding announced by the NSW government ahead of next week’s budget.

The expansion of the museum at Ultimo will establish it as the heart of the city’s new cultural precinct.


The museum project will shift focus to design and fashion, deliver an expanded exhibition and public space, and reorientate the entrance, connecting it to the Goods Line and adjacent precincts.

Powerhouse chief executive Lisa Havilah said the new creative industries precinct would also offer subsidised studio space and contribute to Sydney’s burgeoning night-time economy.

“The renewal of our institution will deliver two world-class museums—with a design and fashion focus at Powerhouse Ultimo and our flagship museum focused on science and technology museum, Powerhouse Parramatta,” she said.

“This visionary investment will see the expansion of our exhibition spaces as well as renewal of our historic exhibition spaces. We will create a vibrant public square beside the Goods Line, and creative industries workspaces that will become home for Australian designers.”

Planning for a design competition, led by Create Infrastructure and the Powerhouse Museum, will now begin.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the $500m funding ahead of next week’s budget.

The Powerhouse Museum had controversially been slated for closure and relocation, and the site was due to be sold, but the decision was overturned last year.

The museum’s heritage halls and the award-winning 1988 Wran Building would be preserved within the precinct, with the addition of studio spaces, a workshop, and a new gallery.

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin said it was an investment in the arts that would showcase the Powerhouse’s collection.

“The Powerhouse Museum’s collection has incredible breadth, telling the great stories of design from the industrial age to the great design achievements at the beginning of this century,” he said.

“The Powerhouse Museum has the most important design collection in Australia, ranging from some of the finest Australian-made jewels of the 20th Century, key works by Marc Newson, the Catherine Martin design archive alongside Australian designers Carla Zampatti, Romance Was Born, Akira, Jenny Kee, and Linda Jackson and International designers Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Christian Dior.

“More than 30 per cent of the Powerhouse collection sits in decorative arts—what better place to display these incredible objects than at the historic Ultimo site.”

Via The Urban Developer

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