The Powerhouse Museum Ultimo will be reorientated to connect with the CBD, provide a new outdoor public square, more indoor exhibition space and show off the heritage facades of the original power station built in 1899, the NSW Government has announced today.
The main entrance to the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo will face the Goods Line, the walkway connecting Central Station and Haymarket, under the heritage renewal that will revitalise the iconic 1988 Wran Building on Harris Street, said Minister for Arts, John Graham.
The Government today released concept designs for the $250 million project.
“In September, the NSW Government announced it would deliver on its election commitment to save the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo and preserve the Wran legacy,” said Mr Graham.
“This is the next step in the process of reimagining the future of the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo. After nine years of divided opinions of this site, we are hopeful these new designs and a renewed focus on applied arts and sciences are more in line with the community’s expectations of this much-loved institution.
“The area around the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo has changed significantly in the last 30 years. The design plans will reorient the museum, and open onto to the Goods Line. This will connect the museum to the city, including major public transport options.”
The Powerhouse Museum Ultimo will close its doors on 5 February 2024 for building and conservation works that are expected to take up to three years.
“The heritage revitalisation of the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo will ensure that there will be even more opportunities for our audiences to connect with and experience our collection and programs across the applied arts and applied sciences,” said Powerhouse Museum Ultimo CEO, Lisa Havilah.
“This new concept plan will expand our ability to present international exhibitions and expand our learning and industry programs. We thank the NSW Government for this transformative investment into the future of our much-loved museum and look forward to delivering an exceptional outcome for the communities of NSW.
“The concept design includes the Powerhouse Academy, which will offer increased levels of access for secondary and tertiary students from regional NSW and beyond, providing immersive learning experiences that enable pathways into industry and tertiary learning.
“The government has committed $250 million for the heritage revitalisation, with the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo adopting a $50 million philanthropy target. We have already secured $10 million towards this through a partnership with UTS,” she said.
The new entrance will reveal the beautiful heritage facades of the original power station built in 1899 and the 1902 Turbine Hall. The 1901 Post Office building located on Harris Street will be preserved and further integrated into the museum precinct.
The Powerhouse Museum Ultimo confirmed the revitalisation concept design will include purpose-built space to support the Powerhouse Academy program. This program offers accomodation for regional NSW school children to visit the museum to engage with applied arts and applied sciences through immersive learning programs enriched by access to the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo collection and a major new partnership with the University of Technology (UTS).
The revitalisation will be led by Infrastructure NSW in line with the museum’s Conservation Management Plan and current heritage and planning legislation.
The project will require a State Significant Development Application and, as part of this, consultation with the community.
“The renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo will deliver a dynamic applied arts and applied sciences program, presenting exhibitions that showcase the Powerhouse collection, attract international exhibitions and programs that support the visitor economy and create an activated cultural precinct,” said Powerhouse Museum Ultimo Trust President, Peter Collins.
“Embedding these collections, exhibitions and programs within a broader creative industries precinct will significantly contribute to the renewal of the institution while creating national and international development and employment pathways for NSW creative practitioners.”