Friday, June 21, 2024

Parramatta reveals finalists for $180m theatre redesign

Five internationally recognised architectural teams have been shortlisted as finalists for the Design Excellence Competition for the City of Parramatta Council’s $180 million redevelopment of Riverside Theatres.

Council says the finalists were selected from a large and world-class field of entries.

Lord Mayor, Pierre Esber said the five finalists have all presented Council with the ingenuity, innovation, imagination, creativity and design talent it was looking for.

“This is more than another performing arts centre – this will be the heart of arts and culture of Greater Sydney, so we want to find the best,” he said.

“Our City is committed to the development of Parramatta as a destination and thriving cultural precinct. Through major cultural projects like this we are pushing the boundaries to make the reimagined Riverside Theatres the next great stage Australian and international performers will be lining up to perform on.”

The selected finalist teams for the next stage of the Design Excellence Competition are:

  • ARM Architecture (Lead Architect and Urban Design) with UN Studio (Architecture and Urban Design), Aspect (Landscape Architecture), FCAD (Designing with Country and Emerging Practice), Supermanoeuvre (Architecture) and Second Edition (Architecture and Emerging Practice)
  • Cox Architecture (Lead Architect and Urban Design) with 3XN Studio (Architecture), Turf (Landscape Architecture), Bangawarra (Designing with Country) and Aileen Sage (Architecture and Emerging Practice)
  • Durbach Block Jaggers Architects (Lead Architect) with Openwork (Urban Design and Landscape Architecture), Jiwah (Landscape Architecture and Designing with Country), Retallack Thompson Architects (Architecture and Emerging Practice), Schuler Shook (Theatre Planning/Venue Design), Finding Infinity (Sustainability) and Suzie Miller (Advisor)
  • Wardle (Lead Architect and Urban Design) with REX (Architecture), Billy Maynard (Architecture and Emerging Practice), Sue Barnsley Design (Landscape Architecture), WSP (Designing with Country), Charcoalblue (Theatre Planning/Venue Design) and Eckersley O’Callaghan (Structural Engineering)
  • Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects (Lead Architect) with Spackman Mossop Michaels (Landscape Architecture and Urban Design), Sibling Architecture (Architecture and Emerging Practice), Djinjama (Designing with Country), and Atelier Ten (Sustainability)

When complete, the new Riverside Theatres will include a new 1350-1400 seat lyric theatre, a newly refurbished 760-seat Riverside playhouse theatre, an all new 430-seat black-box drama theatre, and state-of-the-art 80-90 seat digital studio and cinema – more than doubling the current centre’s capacity.  

“The Riverside Theatres redevelopment will be a major piece of the growing Parramatta’s night-time economy – helping to further boost our local economy by encouraging more to visit and take in some of the best stage shows in Australia,” Lord Mayor Esber said.

Riverside Theatres director, Craig McMaster said the redevelopment is one of the most exciting cultural development projects to be undertaken in NSW years.

“We could not be more excited about the incredible local and global interest in the first stage of our design competition,” Mr McMaster said.

“We can’t wait to see the inspirational concepts these five talented and experienced teams will present as we move into the next phase of the design excellence competition, and to see the final winning design for what will become the amazing new home and centre for the performing arts in Western Sydney.”

NSW Government architect, Abbie Galvin said the submissions were of high calibre.

“Design competitions provide us the privilege of hearing from the deep and diverse talent in the design industry,” Ms Galvin said.

“The selected teams are clever, thoughtful and highly creative – and we anticipate some delightful responses for this important community facility.”

Work on the more than $180 million redevelopment is expected to start in 2024.

To find out more about the five finalists, click here or visit

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