Walsh Bay Arts Precinct
The rejuvenation of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct into a fresh cultural and creative hub is a priority infrastructure project for the NSW Government.
The Walsh Bay Arts Precinct comprises Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 and is located within a unique waterfront and heritage setting.
A planning application has been lodged for the second stage of the State Significant Development Application (SSDA) for the construction and use of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.
The proposal will create a public arts and culture hub on Sydney’s waterfront, with new plans maximising the use of public space at Walsh Bay and preserving its iconic heritage.
It includes creating new arts facilities and performance venues in Pier 2/3, refurbishing facilities in Wharf 4/5 and providing a new waterfront square between them for outdoor performances, festivals, public art, commercial and community activities.
Pier 2/3 is the last remaining undeveloped wharf in Sydney and is used for arts, cultural and creative purposes.
Wharf 4/5 is a major arts facility within the Precinct with a focus on theatre and dance. Facilities at Wharf 4/5 include three theatres, a dance performance space, a number of dance studios and rehearsal/workshop spaces, as well as a cafe, bar and restaurant.
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Stage 2 SSDA is on public exhibition from 17 November to 16 December 2016. A copy of the EIS can be found on the Major Projects website of the Department of Planning and Environment.
About the Proposal
The Walsh Bay Arts Precinct SSDA covers major construction work along with plans for new commercial and event uses. This application follows on from the Stage 1 Concept application approved in May 2015.
Key features of the proposal include:
- A new waterfront square between Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5
- Use of the precinct for arts festivals, community events and pop-ups with potential to include restaurants, cafés and bars
- Provision of flexible and adaptable spaces in Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 for arts and cultural activities
- Events within the waterfront square and outdoor spaces
- Heritage modifications and interventions required to Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 including stairs, balcony and roof modifications.
The proposal will re-establish and enhance the precinct with each arts organisation to be given a series of rehearsal and performance spaces that more than double the arts offerings at Walsh Bay.
The new waterfront square will be used for events such as the Writers’ Festival as well as for other events such as film nights. The new square will be built over the water, with stairs descending down to the water.
It will be a destination in its own right, for both community and cultural events and for day-to-day relaxing and simple enjoyment. It will become the central, cultural hub of the precinct, performing a vital role in creating a unique destination for all Sydneysiders.
The Stage 2 SSDA seeks consent for construction works, as well as the proposed external alterations and additions to all of Wharf 4/5. It also seeks consent for new commercial and event uses in the precinct.
As part of the proposal, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Bell Shakespeare Company will join existing tenants within the precinct including:
- Sydney Theatre Company
- The Australian Theatre for Young People
- Bangarra Dance Theatre
- Sydney Dance Company
- Philharmonia Choirs (including the Song Company)
- Gondwana Choirs
Construction is expected to commence in mid-2017, subject to approvals, with the redevelopment due for completion in 2019.
The vision for the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct
The rejuvenation of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct is being overseen by Arts NSW and delivered in conjunction with Projects NSW, a specialist unit of Infrastructure NSW. Create NSW maintains responsibility for strategic and design outcomes and managing stakeholder relations, while Infrastructure NSW is now responsible for project delivery.
Award-winning architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG), which has worked on the refurbishment of Customs House, Carriageworks and the Sydney Opera House renewal, was appointed in March 2016 as Project Architect. TZG will work closely with Arts NSW and the resident arts companies as the design is refined.
The Concept Design was completed and submitted as part of a Concept State Significant Development Application (DA) in 2014, which was approved in May 2015.
The concept design was a refinement of the Masterplan, completed in 2013. The Vision Report and Master Plan were created through consultation between Create NSW and the proposed arts companies.
Sydney Theatre Company
The Sydney Theatre Company (STC) has been a key tenant of Wharf 4/5 for the past 30 years. It has lodged a separate development application for internal alterations and refurbishment to the upper level of Wharf 4/5 to update the space to create better theatres, an improved visitor experience and amenities and better work spaces.
Arts NSW is working to activate Pier 2/3 in the short term through allowing the pier to be used for arts, cultural and creative activities, while planning for the long term redevelopment of the pier is underway.
More about Pier 2/3
If you have an enquiry or comment about the project, please contact us.
Phone: 1800 960 550
Downloads and more information
Download the Media Release (16 November 2016)
Download the Walsh Bay Vision Report (2012)
Download the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct Master Plan (2013)
Download the Concept State Significant Development Application
Download the Media Release (17 March 2015).