Powerhouse Parramatta Design Updates

The architects of the power station under construction Parramatta has updated its design of the roof pavilion on the museum’s east building and finalized plans for the adaptive reuse of the St George’s Heritage Terrace.

Moreau Kusunoki, Genton and landscape architect McGregor Coxall submitted a design statement for the proposed changes as part of a variation application to the NSW Planning Department.

The rooftop pavilion and the retained St George’s Terrace were late additions to the project, added after an outcry over the proposed demolition of St George’s Terrace and Willow Grove, which reduced the museum’s footprint.

The rooftop pavilion is designed as a flexible space connected to the outdoor landscaped terrace and hosting exhibitions, events and workshops. While the original proposal was for a relatively small structure on the western edge of the roof, the revised design calls for a continuous roof connecting the main pavilion to a secondary volume on the eastern edge. This will provide better weather protection and connect the various activity areas of the roof.

St George’s Terrace and Phillip Street Forecourt in front of the main power station building.

Image: Moreau Kusunoki, Genton, McGregor Coxall

The architects aimed for a distinct language for the pavilion and the roof that complements the architecture of the entire building.

“Lightness, transparency, and a unified roof experience that seamlessly connects the exterior landscape deck and interior spaces are central to the evolved design,” states the design team.

“The architectural expression of this canopy is understated and minimal, almost floating above the east building of the new power station. A large opening to the central garden creates a connection with the sky and the sun, and provides a moment of vertical clearance for planting.

The museum says the pavilion will contribute to programs that engage communities in Indigenous and agricultural science, climate change and local food production

St George’s Terrace, a row of seven two-storey terraced houses built in 1881, sits on the south-east corner of the Powerhouse Parramatta site.

The revised design of the rooftop pavilion.

The revised design of the rooftop pavilion.

Image: Moreau Kusunoki, Genton, McGregor Coxall

The building is planned to become a flexible pavilion that will be an integral part of Powerhouse’s programming.

Interior walls will be removed to open up a double-height adaptable great room across six of the terraces, while the easternmost terrace will house a service and back-house area.

The space will be used for education and group bookings, exhibition and event support, gathering and orientation of school groups, workshops and more.

Heritage elements will be retained, but the modification will also remove later additions and introduce a similar material palette to the main building.

The space will connect to the surrounding public realm through doors to the west, on Phillip Street Plaza, and via large areas of glazing on the north facade, which will open onto a walkway connecting the terrace and the main building.

Each of the four facades of the terrace will be unique, contrasting with the monumental homogeneity of the exoskeleton of the main building. “Smaller windows along the south facade reflect the original heritage fenestration pattern and provide light and the possibility of a controlled connection to the Philip Street environment,” notes the design team. “This contrasts with the north facade which is defined by a full-height expanse of two-storey glazing that maximizes the visual connection to the pathway and the exoskeleton beyond. This unifies the internal experience of being in the terrace and within the power plant compound.

Powerhouse Parramatta is expected to open in 2025.

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