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Submission for: Powerhouse Parramatta


The Social Canvas



Dear Major Projects

Unfortunately we can not and do not support the current "Powerhouse Parramatta" project as presented, and rushed in this EIS.

Greater Parramatta has needed State Cultural Infrastructure and equitable funding for the population, compared with Sydney, for many years.
The Project and 'winning design' are not suitable for the clear and necessary respect needed for Parramatta's complex cultural landscape and needs for all '5 Cultural Pillars' to be represented in the City.

The Building Brief has failed to ensure meaningful or long-term retention and integration of existing heritage values and buildings on Phillip St, that SHOULD infact become part of the MAAS Collection (or Parramatta Museum Collection) and be fully restored, incorporated and celebrated in juxtaposition of new and old, restocked with "Applied Arts" and decorative content in the Parramatta CBD.

The Building Design is opposed, as it is not being revised and reviewed adequately prior to this EIS. Whilst it presents a strong architectural logic for Event Management Space, there is inadequate and clearly suitable permanent Exhibition space (reduced in size, and without atmospheric controls). The 'modularity' of the lattice design structure SHOULD enable the Architects to be fully instructed to review and modify the configuration, contents and respect the context. It is argued this arrogance undermines the benefits of the post-industrial / late-modernism to simply represent a destructive and undesirable imposition, refusing to be modified significantly or adequately to respond to broad community objection. This philosophic arrogance leads to the destruction of Willow Grove Villa and the St. Georges Terrace which are rare and otherwise unrepresented in the CBD and both of which must be protected and embraced onsite.

The Design is opposed as noting an undesirable constriction and diminution of the Council's River Foreshore Vision, by literally rebuilding the "undercroft" void space in the "flood-zone" similar to the current DJ Carpark. This space at the river–level utterly fails to provide a socially inspirational foreshore zone, connected by only a staircase and a ramp to the "piazza". The break between these 2 areas is equally questioned (and here opposed) as suitable landscape integration by Parramatta Council's consultation, and betraying of our Indigenous Dharug community's aspirations for a rich meaningful riverine restoration and connection to country.

The Building and Project is opposed as it provides on a 9m wide passage for the Council's Civic Link vista, that had been designated to need to be at least 29m wide to incorporate Willow Grove and its Gardens (upgraded) for the experience connection to the River. A Building envelope "could" be corrected to enable this Planning Goal or at least a modular change made to the whole configuration, (see Diagram "FIXED IT" from internet search) or the Project cancelled.

Broadly the Powerhouse Project is misnamed, it should not be attempting to move the STEAM and DESIGN Collections from Ultimo, as these and the Campus#1 need to be retained in the Ultimo Powerhouse facility and be enhanced, in context.

Any "Parramatta" MAAS presence needs to be Campus#4 and actually demonstrate clear proof and connection with the so-named "integrated precinct" of the National Heritage Listed Fleet St Female Factory and Institutions, that is unsupported in the InfrastructureNSW PDF document (EIS). NO mention is made of the proposal to further divide the Collections with the Lucy Turnbull / Paul Keating proposed "V&A style" decorative arts museum at Queens Square, in the former Lands Titles heritage buildings.

The MAAS presence (or campus#4) needs the Building Brief to be CHANGED to incorporate being serviced by ALL 5 Pillar Sydney Cultural Institutions AND embrace the entire Cumberland Hospital Site on Fleet St with significant Botanic Garden and Indigenous City Forest (north side) on Deerubbin Land and Gaol.

For these reason, we strongly oppose the current project, and its profligate waste of funds destroying the Ultimo Institution, Parramatta Assets and failing to consult adequately for the comprehensive 'new institution and stand-alone' Museum integrating all of Parramatta's cultural needs and qualities.

Yours sincerely
S A Cook, G R Sellman
The Social Canvas. Parramatta