Reimagined Riverside step closer

A reimagined Riverside Theatres that is the pride of Western Sydney has moved a step closer with the commencement of Stage 2 of the Design Excellence Competition for the City’s $180 million plus theatre redevelopment.

It will see five internationally recognised architectural teams refine their ideas for Riverside and incorporate feedback from the design jury from Stage 1.

The teams will present their updated vision for transforming Riverside into a world-class performing arts centre in early May.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber said it was an exciting moment for the City.

“This is a once in-a-generation design competition that will allow one of these architectural teams to put their stamp on the centrepiece of our emerging arts and cultural precinct,” Cr Esber said.

“The reimagined Riverside will be the new home of performing arts in Western Sydney and yet another drawcard for people to visit Parramatta.”

Riverside Theatres Director Craig McMaster said the five teams competing in Stage 2 had demonstrated exceptional creativity and passion for the vision for Riverside.

“The Riverside Theatres renewal project is not just about creating a state-of-the-art performing arts centre; it’s about fostering a cultural haven that will inspire and unite our community for decades to come,” Mr McMaster said.

“Our City and the wider performing arts industry are so excited about the potential of this transformative project.”

The Stage 2 Design Brief has been meticulously crafted to define the vision, scope, and functional requirements of the redeveloped performing arts centre in collaboration with the Government Architect New South Wales (GANSW).

GANSW’s endorsement of the brief underscores the importance of this project and its potential to shape the cultural landscape of Parramatta and greater Western Sydney.

NSW Government architect Abbie Galvin said the Government Architect’s office has worked closely with Riverside Theatres and City of Parramatta Council in developing the brief for the design competition.

“We are delighted the response phase is underway and we look forward to a really diverse range of creative proposals for this significant community building,” Ms Galvin said.

The previously announced teams participating in the final phase 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 1350-1500 seat lyric theatre, a newly refurbished 760-seat Riverside playhouse theatre, an all new 380-430 seat black-box drama theatre and state-of-the-art 80-100 seat digital studio and cinema – more than doubling the current centre’s capacity.

The winning design is expected to be announced in May 2024 with construction expected to start in late 2025.

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