The NSW Government has launched a design competition for the renewal of the Powerhouse Ultimo, which will see the iconic building reinvigorated with a $500 million investment.

The renewal will futureproof the building which will see it continue as a vital design, technology and cultural precinct in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.

The government is calling for considered contemporary designs which intertwine adaptive reuse and museum practice. New galleries will be created as part of the renewal, as well as increased support for creative industries and renewed spaces connecting and integrating the Powerhouse into a fast changing and dynamic part of Sydney.

“The renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo presents a city-shaping opportunity for an Australian Architect to reimagine one of the country’s most revered cultural institutions through new and expanded exhibition and public space, including the delivery of Australia’s first dedicated design and fashion galleries,” says Create NSW Interim Chief Executive Annette Pitman.

Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah says architects must look to retain the DNA of the much-loved museum within their designs.

“The Powerhouse has always reflected the changing nature of industries which enveloped and surrounded the site. This Design Competition will compel architects to engage with the stories of ingenuity and innovation powering local contemporary design and fashion industries,” she says.

“Their task is to integrate working precincts with embedded creative industries and world-class learning, research and community facilities in a contemporary museum context. As it enters its next phase of evolution, Powerhouse Ultimo will amplify and reflect the voices and ideas of our communities.

“We invite the nation’s best creative design teams to meet this moment with us by bringing vision and clarity to the story of our institution.”

The competition is being advised by CityLab Founding Director Andrew Mackenzie.

“Registered Architects, architectural practices, partnerships and teams across Australia are encouraged to take up the challenge of this significant platform to leave their mark on the Australian cultural landscape,” Mackenzie says.

“This visionary project offers a singular opportunity to embrace the rich heritage aspects of the former Power Station whilst elevating the central role of contemporary design and fashion in a landmark cultural institution.”

Registrations of Interest open on Monday 27 June. The next phase will be an Expression of Interest, followed by a Design Competition. For more information, click here.