The Cutaway project

The Cutaway is a Barangaroo events and cultural space carved from the sandstone underneath Barangaroo Reserve. Find out more about one of Sydney’s best open air event spaces.

The Cutaway is a unique cultural venue that sits below the eastern end of Barangaroo Reserve. It is situated on Sydney’s waterfront and on the doorstep of the new Sydney Metro at Barangaroo (to open in 2024).

The Cutaway is meticulously constructed and features an enormous sandstone wall that opens to the sky. When the Cutaway was opened in 2015, it was always envisaged further fit-out works would be required to complete the space.

We have commenced work to design and deliver a bespoke fit-out of the Cutaway that will resolve current limitations and restrictions on use including a lack of acoustic enclosures, on-site amenities and smaller venue spaces. These fit-out works will turn the Cutaway into one of Sydney’s premier cultural facilities and a preferred venue for events, exhibitions, festivals, and installations.

The SSD application for a new cultural facility in the Cutaway at Barangaroo was on public exhibition until Wednesday 29 March 2023. You can view the full set of SSD application planning documents here

A response to the planning submissions has been submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment  and can be viewed on the planning portal.

The procurement process to engage a main contractor for the Cutaway fit-out is underway and is expected to conclude by the end of 2023.


The new cultural facility within the Cutaway will span three levels inside the existing Cutaway space and includes event and gallery spaces, a dedicated First Nations education space, back-of-house areas, amenities, offices and ancillary retail and café. There are also landscape propositions for the Nawi Cove entry.

The design continues our commitment to recognising and celebrating First Nations people and culture, design excellence and high-quality architectural designs, and embedding sustainability initiatives consistent with Barangaroo’s climate positive principles.

When the Cutaway opened in 2015, it was always envisaged the space would require a future fit-out to improve function, operations and visitor experience. While the Cutaway is a popular venue for a range of large-scale events, the use of this space has been restricted by its open-air nature, the impact of noise on nearby residents and insufficient back-of-house facilities and amenities.

FJC Studio is the project architect and has prepared a concept design that will define a new character and identity for the Cutaway, while maintaining the scale, flexibility and diversity of the space.

The SSD application is currently being assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment, and the NSW Minister for Planning is the consent authority for all SSD applications.

We are currently conducting the main contractor procurement for the Cutaway fit-out works. The process is anticipated to conclude by the end of 2023 with the award of a construction contract.

The Cutaway will need to close during the fit-out construction, which is anticipated to take up to 15 months. INSW will continue to inform the community as plans progress, and we will work with contractors to minimise the impact of construction on neighbouring properties and businesses. Timeframes for the start and completion of construction is subject to planning and procurement processes.

The Wellama short film artwork commissioned for the entrance to the Cutaway will be taken down and placed into storage during construction to prevent any damage. Upon practical completion of the fit-out works, it will be reinstated in the same location.

The decision to progress with the Cutaway as a flexible multi-purpose space was made by the NSW Government after a three-phase investigation and consultation process into potential opportunities for the space.

Following the completion of the fit-out works, the Cutaway will have the ability to accommodate First Nations cultural events and exhibitions as part of its program, which is consistent with the approach for the development and ongoing curation of Barangaroo.  

Connecting with Country is a strong attribute of the fit-out design. The design responds to the First Nations cultural connections to Country that exist specifically to the Cutaway site and will continue to convey the history of the place and the people, with reference to Gadigal stories – past, present and future.   

FJC Studio have been working closely with First Nations design consultants, and we will continue to engage with First Nations representatives throughout this process.

The Cutaway will be a multi-purpose cultural facility suitable for a range of cultural, artistic and commercial functions. It will be able to host a range of events including markets, functions, art shows and concerts. There will also be a dedicated First Nations education space and temporary gallery  to host smaller, temporary exhibitions and events.

No, the Cutaway was approved under the Barangaroo Concept Plan.