Parramatta Town Hall

A civic landmark in Sydney’s geographical heart, the restored Parramatta Town Hall is an embodiment of sensitivity and modernity. Its second instalment, re-opened 140 years after its inception in 1883, remains true to its purpose as a key gathering space for the community.

The project connects directly to PHIVE (Parramatta Civic Hub)—Parramatta’s new community, cultural and civic hub adjoined to a lively Parramatta Square. The design was developed by DesignInc in collaboration with Lacoste+Stevenson and Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, while heritage restoration was overseen by TKD Architects.

Our approach, developed in close consultation with the City of Parramatta Council, balances the site’s history with the requirements of a contemporary, fit-for-purpose entertainment venue. The core objective was to restore the Town Hall buildings, refurbished for renewed purpose.

Dharug Country
Parramatta, New South Wales
City of Parramatta Council
Lacoste+Stevenson, Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, TKD Architects
Project Contact
Richard Does
Brett Boardman
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Nexus of today and yesterday

A new addition—the Southern Terrace—completes Parramatta Square. The Southern Terrace is used as a pre-event space and that can open up completely to act as a performance stage. Appearing as a freestanding building, the terrace exists as a direct connection between the old Town Hall and the public square.

The ground beneath the Southern Terrace is of extremely high archaeological and cultural significance as the only remaining part of Parramatta Square that has not been excavated. The Southern Terrace was designed and built with great care as an exposed steel truss, acting as a bridge over one of Australia’s most significant, undisturbed cultural sites. In this way, the addition belongs to the Square as much as it does to the Town Hall.

Works are complemented by contemporary power and data storage requirements for entertainment. Jubilee Hall has been converted to food and beverage amenities, activating the new Northern Laneway. Through a safety and usability lens, design factors include acoustics, audio-visual technology, air conditioning, smoke exhaust, fire protection, lift access and upgraded facilities alongside the restoration of the original heritage fabric.

Heritage-led design

DesignInc’s approach revolves around a deep and truthful understanding of the site’s past.

Once a waterhole and stream, Parramatta Square held cultural significance for the Dharug Clans and other First Nations Peoples for thousands of years. Post-colonisation, it witnessed the Assimilation Policy’s inception in 1816—which led ultimately to the events of the Stolen Generation—on the site where the marketplace once stood.

Developed in close consultation with the project’s Design Excellence Jury, architecture of the Southern Terrace acts as a bridge over this historically significant space and integrates into PHIVE and the adjoining Square—an intermediate gathering space for the Town Hall.

In the next phase of development, heritage interpretation elements implemented by Council in the public forecourt will tell the site’s history.

A sustainable story of re-use

Parramatta Town Hall resembles a city’s collective shift in sustainability.

City of Parramatta Council’s electricity supply is powered by 100% renewable energy, featuring a solar PV array on the Southern Terrace roof. Up to 90% of construction waste was recycled, including the reuse of wide timber floors and heritage bricks throughout the building and new masonry areas.

The design features rainwater harvesting for reuse in irrigation and toilet flushing. Both PHIVE and Parramatta Town Hall have been fitted with dual pipework, anticipating connection to the precinct recycled water scheme that will be commissioned in the near future. Materiality within the new public spaces fronting the Public Square, calls upon durability to ensure longevity in its usage.

Ngoc Tran - DesignInc Sydney

Ngoc Tran

Senior Designer, Sydney

Francesco Camillo

Francesco Camillo

Senior Designer, Sydney