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Viva! Melbourne's booming arts precinct

11253 Views 67 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  DrDan
Without doubt the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne's St Kilda Road-Southbank arts precinct is booming, with many exciting new developments. This is going to be something to see.

Here is an attempt to pull the Art precinct's main elements together, keyed by numbers from this skyline picture:

1. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl (1958)

2. The Malthouse Theatre An 1892 brewery
donated by CUB to the theatre company, it opened in 1990.
Has theatre, meeting rooms (Australian Writers Week was held there), rehearsal spaces etc. For some reason there's a paucity of pictures of the actual building, and its linked, contemporary art neighbor:

3. Australian Centre for Contemporarey Art The neighbor, the 'rust coated ruin' design, opened circa 2000 I think.

4 and 5. The Victorian College of the Arts, Performing Arts Museum, Melbourne Centre for the Performing Arts, etc.
Stretching from St Kilda Road to the Performing Arts Centre on Dudley Street, the College has awarded a prize for the design of the rear of its St Kilda Road building, but I'm not sure of its status (3rd pic).

The Centre for the Performing Arts facing Dudley Street

6 and 7. Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) U/C This cutting edge design complex is going to brighten the corner behind the National Gallery of Victoria immensely, and bring a sense of life and light to the whole 'rear' side of the precinct.

The largest of the Recital Hall's two performance venues will seat 1001 people, but the accent in one will be on intimacy: a vertical space in which no member of the aidience will be more than 28m from the front of the stage. It will have rehearsal rooms and a recording studio. It is already being rushed for bookings by interstate chamber music companies. MTC will have an adjoining 500-seat theatre. Scheduled opening 2009.

8. The National Galley of Victoria 1959-68 By Roy Grounds, with an internal reconstruction in recent years,
it houses Australia's greatest and most representative collection of fine art and antiquities. Ground's moated, austere modernist design is noted for its arched 'waterwall entrance and the Leonard French stained glass ceiling of the Great Hall. Hosts and sponsors major international exhibitions.

9 and 10. The Victorian Arts Centre and State Concert Hall

11. Federation Square (2001) By Donald Bates and Peter Davidson of the Lab Architecture Studio, who won a world-wide design competition: massive budget blow-outs, delays, and the cutting edge design ensured it would be controversiual, but it is now taken to the heart of the city. The complex includes the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the NGV's Ian Potter Gallery housing the Australian art collection.

12. Proposal, the Arts Centre pedestrian boulevard
A $250m plan to link Sturt Street and St Kilda Road with a
sloping pedestrian boulevard that will draw many of the arts precinct's elements closer together.

13. ABC Southbank studios and Iwaki Auditorium, a chamber music venue seating 200 people with broadcasting and recording facilities.

14. The Australian Ballet Centre occupies floors of a commercial building in Kavanagh Street, opened in 1988 at cost of $24m.

That's it. What have I missed? Bronte
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Stop posting all these great threads, you're turning me into a homebody! :)
A pic of the Leonard French Ceiling in the Galleries Great Hall.....before the renovations..but the ceiling is still the same
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they are really booming .... cant wait for those projects to complete....
Thanks gappa, but your own rain essay was really the thread of the week (apart from the Alice Springs brouhaha of course :lol: )

For out-of-staters, I'll just repeat this favorite posted by Grollo - looking towards the Arts precinct down St Kilda Rd, Melbourne's two-mile, 198ft wide prestige boulevard. which is enjoying its own boom:

And a few more repeats from the area. Sorry, the original photo-poster is on the tip of my tongue... ip...I'll edit it in later.

The Roy Grounds waterwall arched entry took on a European facade for the Dutch Masters exhibition last year:

New Year's Eve

overlooking it to keep from uewepeup

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With Southbank & St Kilda Road and surrounds' large residential population, The Arts Precinct already has a "captured audience", and this population will continue to grow 'n grow 'n grow with the resi market on the up-swing.

No other city in Australia has such a designated area for The Arts. This makes it unique to Australia. It wouldn't be surprising if more projects supporting The Arts happen in the area in the future as a result of "all of the above".

Pics by The Olderfleet:

Pic by Fabian:

When Ashton Raggatt McDougall's MTC & Recital Hall are completed @ a cost of $94 million, it will not only bring more night light to the precinct by the MTC being covered with illuminated tubes that blur its shape, and honeycombe cladding on the MRH that will emit light through the sections, but more night life as well. Both buildings will feature street-side cafes that will open during the day and evenings, independent of arts activities

The MTC building will hold up to 500 patrons and the Recital Hall, 1,000. I love how each building has its own identity. They are like 2 different sculptures by 2 different sculptors.

The Recitial Hall will seem so bright & transparent. Looks like a place to be "seen" & seems rather functional.

The Promenade Staircase:

Being seen in the Circle Foyer facing Southbank Boulevard:

The auditorium...

Being seen again in MRH's The Salon:

On the other hand, the MTC will be more of a surrealistic trip. It will be built to give you a sense of occasion, rather than pure functionality. Afterall, going to the theatre IS an "occasion"...

...and inside, black trimming will be used as opposed to the white external tubing - a juxtaposition:

Still with the red & black theme in the auditorium. The indentations on the side walls are for accoustic purposes. Currently playing is "I am a chair all alone in this world".

As alternatives, many Hoddle Grid theatres aren't that far away, most being east of Swanston Street & the also-not-so-far-away Crown on the opposite side of Southbank offers live entertainment & cinema.

The Forum/State isn't so far out of the Arts Precinct:

Or you can step out to a movie on one of the 13 Village cinema screens @ Crown, or catch a show in the Palms at Crown cabaret-style venue:

BTW Below is the full article on the proposed boulevard that Aussie Steve posted in the Vic sub-forum. Once the boulevard has been completed, more street lighting, newer businesses with their signages, floodlit sculptures etc, will make The Arts Precinct even brighter in the evenings:

City to get boulevard of arts

Concentrated effort: An impression of the proposed Sturt Street arts precinct, which will link Melbourne's major arts organisations.

Clay Lucas
26 April 2007

AFTER almost a decade of planning, a $250 million scheme for the revamping of the Southbank arts precinct is set to begin.

Arts Minister Lynne Kosky today will announce $5 million funding for architects to design the first stage of the Sturt Street arts precinct.

This extension of Sturt Street will link it with St Kilda Road with a massive, sloping pedestrian boulevard.

Under the plan, a sweeping plaza will sit between the Arts Centre's two buildings, providing space for major events and performances.

Melbourne's most significant arts venues and organisations will open onto the new public boulevard. They include the National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre, the Australian Ballet, the Malthouse Theatre, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the ABC, the Victorian College of the Arts and the new Melbourne Recital Centre, which is due to open in 2009.

Last night, it was unclear where money for the project would come from, though a vacant site owned by the State Government on the corner of Sturt Street and City Road could be redeveloped by the private sector to provide some funding.

Ms Kosky said the plan would eventually link many of Melbourne's major cultural organisations.

More than 3.5 million arts lovers each year already visit the venues in the area.

Even more would flood in as a result of the project, Ms Kosky said.

Arts Centre chief executive Tim Jacobs said last night: "This will be an extraordinary concentration of arts activity."

Mr Jacobs said it was estimated that between $200 million and $250 million would be required for the redevelopment.

National Gallery of Victoria director Gerard Vaughan also supported the proposal, which he said would give the gallery a "creative dovetail". "There is great potential to create a grand prospect behind the Arts Centre and the NGV that would really benefit Melbourne's cultural infrastructure," he said.

After next week's state budget formally sets aside money for the project, 10 architects and urban designers will be briefed.

A winning design for the precinct is to be selected from this group.
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Thansk so much Muse for puting all together
it is so informative... i am just loving this.. i am so lucky living in this city!

The thing of arts and cultures in Melbourne - they attract so much of mixed audiences in terms of demographic ... like last nite i went to Jazz festival - it was so mixed - teenagers 15-19 yo to mid twenties, thirties, and forties (age wise) and also few types and races of people were represented...
and it was so relax and cool affair - no air or things like that - people were just full anticipation and wanting of good time.

these can be applied to mosts of festival/concerts i have been - they were just so easy and relaxed and can be said egalitarian (only the price tickets may divide some eager participants)

and i like Hamers hall in the way that it is so open to the pedestrian traffic - very inclusive to public...
That's cool Ali. I'm personally very interested in this.

Quote from wikipedia on The Arts Centre's spire:

The original spire designed by Roy Grounds was 115 metres tall. By the mid-1990s, signs of deterioration became apparent on the original upper spire structure, and the Arts Centre Trust decided to replace the spire. The new spire was completed in 1996, and reaches 162 metres, though it is still based on Roy Grounds' original design. The spire is illuminated with roughly 6,600 metres (21,653 feet) of optic fibre tubing, 150 metres (492 feet) of neon tubing on the mast and 14,000 incandescent lamps on the spire's skirt. The metal webbing of the spire is influenced by the billowing of a ballerina's tutu and the Eiffel Tower.
Full wiki article HERE
Melbourne is so lucky!

Perhaps if the arts was more heavily invested in in NSW then Sydney might break out of its comparable cultural cringe...
I have edited the opening post with the addition of #13 and #14 major cultural facilities in the precinct: (1)the ABC Southbank complex and Iwaki Auditorium, a 200-seat chamber music facility with broadcast and recording capacity. I think the Iwaki is part of the Melbourne University's College of Music. (2)
the Australian Ballet Centre in Kavanagh Street.

Thanks Muse for the detailed contributions, particulary the Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC - that's going to bring such life and depth to this area, where so many residential towers are being built.

And, adding images, huge crowds gather here at the Sidney Myer Musical Bowl of an evening. Originally designed by Duncan Patten of Yuncken Freeman, its refurbishment in recent years was part of the body of work that gained Gregory Burgess the RAIA Gold Medal in 2004There was a huge version of this pic, I hope it doesn't appear here:

The new band room backstage

off flickr:

From our thread archives, still tracking a few credits to be edited in.

Crown Promenade

Forgive me folks if I say that Melbourne is not 'lucky" - I know what you mean, and mean it well - but there has been a civic and cultural spirit at work on the city for more than 100 years.
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This street will soon be transformed into a sloping pedestrian boulevard leading to the new arts centre plaza lined with restaurants, bars, cafes...
When it is all done you should be able to see straight through to Federation square from here:

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Oh, you also forgot the most important cultural institution in the Southbank Arts precinct:

Fosters World HQ :)
You're Da Man, Bronteboy!! :applause:

My contribution to this great thread…

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Here's a labelled overview of the Arts Precinct (from Google Earth:
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It'd be nice if someone dropped a bomb on the gated communities (clearly visible above) to the west and south of the ABC while they're at it.

This is truley an amazing area that is just getting better and better all the time!
Fantastic stuff guys. This proposal will just bring it all together. It will be Australia's first proper Cultural Arts Quarter, which no other city in the country has seen the likes of.
^^ I don't know about that, Adelaide already has a highly significant cultural precinct. Also the Adelaide Festival is the nation's pre-eminent festival of Arts, complimented by the Fringe (alternative arts) and Womadelaide (world music festival). World class arts/cultural facilities and events already exist in Adelaide as focal points of the city's identity and character.
^^ I don't know about that, Adelaide already has a highly significant cultural precinct. Also the Adelaide Festival is the nation's pre-eminent festival of Arts, complimented by the Fringe (alternative arts) and Womadelaide (world music festival). World class arts/cultural facilities and events already exist in Adelaide as focal points of the city's identity and character.

AN IDEA I think the identity of Melbourne's unique arts precinct could be further enhanced if the City of Melbourne/Port Phillip were encouraged to progressively re-name a few streets after famous artists, performers, conductors etc.

A good start might be made by naming the new pedestrian plaza to Sturt. and perhaps Sturt Street itself, say (just an example) Nellie Melba Boulevard. There could be a Tom Roberts Drive, Streeton Place, etc etc.

The present street names in the area, Dudley Street, Dodds, Kavanagh Street, City Rd are a particularly uninspired collection of street nomenclature - a hangover from the days when the area was full of tin saw-roofed factories. Something could be done here to enhance the flavour of the arts district.

Please note I have again edited the keyed photo
in posts #1 and #10 to include a 14th major cultural institution, the Australian Ballet Center, which covers some floors of as commercial building at 2 Kavanagh Street, opened in 1988 at a cost of $24m. Its the building with a lot of sculpture/art in the foyer near the sculpture
plaza running down to the river from Eureka I believe.

Finally, neorion, noone is arguing that other cities don't have fine cultural institutions, and in Australia Adelaide's art programs are justly famous. All big cities have greater and lesser degrees of this, of course: in Sydney, you could almost trace a line of cultural institutions from the SOH to the Conservatorium of Music, the Art Gallery of NSW , the Mitchell Library to the Australian Museum - but its the sheer concentration and volume of arts institutions and venues in one Melbourne precinct that we are celebrating here, and say is rather unique in this country. Cheers:)
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Great thread.
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