The NSW Government has unveiled a new vision for the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. An investment of $480-$500 million has been committed to renew the inner city site.
Work has already begun on the Powerhouse Parramatta project in Western Sydney, and going forward the Powerhouse collection and exhibition program will be divided thematically across the two sites.
As Powerhouse CEO Lisa Havilah explained, “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, Powerhouse Parramatta.”
Plans for the Ultimo site include expanded exhibition and public spaces, and the museum will be re-orientated towards the Goods Line, a public park and walking/cycleway that makes use of a disused train line and connects to adjacent precincts.
The vision is for the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo to become the centre of a design and fashion hub. The museum precinct will feature subsidised studios and workspaces for creative industries. And a program called The Academy will provide residential accommodation within the museum precinct and immersive design and fashion education experiences for more than 5,000 students from regional and remote NSW.
The Powerhouse Parramatta project will also offer residential accommodation to some 10,000 regional NSW students each year, and there they will undertake immersive education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) programs.
In 2018 the NSW government proposed to decommission the Ultimo Powerhouse and move the entire collection to Parramatta. But now both sites seem to have secure funding and the greater Sydney area will have two Powerhouse Museums, each with a discrete focus.
“Over the past three decades the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo has inspired thousands of visitors with one of the world’s most important collections across applied arts and sciences. Just like the V&A in London and Smithsonian in the U.S; whose vast and multidisciplinary collections create incredible experiences for visitors the world over,” Museum Trust president Peter Collins AM QC said. “This renewal will pave the way for generations to come to experience even more of our 500,000 strong collection through Australia’s leading museum of design and fashion in Ultimo and the new home of science and technology at our flagship, Powerhouse Parramatta.”
Create Infrastructure and the Powerhouse Museum will lead a design competition for the Ultimo renewal. The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo currently remains open.