Architectus among designers selected for Canberra Theatre Centre revamp

Architectus among designers selected for Canberra Theatre Centre revamp

Render of an early concept design of the proposed new Canberra Theatre (Provided).

A consortium of globally recognised architecture firms has been announced  to partner in the design of a redevelopment for the Canberra Theatre Centre, which is set to become the centrepiece of a revamped cultural precinct in the nation’s capital.

Australian firm Architectus, Danish architects Henning Larsen and London-based multinational Arup have been named as the design partners for the project after a six-month selection process.

The winning tender includes early preliminary designs depicting a new theatre building with a bold façade treatment, referencing the formal modernist and brutalist landmarks of Canberra.

While the development cost for the project has not been revealed, the ACT Government announced five months ago a budget of $28.44 million would be allocated to the renewal.

Since coming to Australia in 1963 to work on the Sydney Opera House, Arup has grown its collective of designers, consultants and experts to 1,300-plus people across 140 countries.

“We are excited to be working in collaboration with Architectus and Henning Larsen on this landmark project that embeds dialogue and creation in the civic heart of Canberra,” Arup Australasian Arts & Culture Business Lead Hannah Slater said.

“Our design approach will provide the opportunity for the project to knit the stories of this place into the city through establishing a transparent, connected and inviting Centre.

“Arup provides diverse technical engineering skills and detailed Theatre Architecture expertise, contributing to the realisation of this ambition.”

Render of the proposed new 2,000 seat-theatre
Render of the proposed new 2,000 seat-theatre (Provided)

 

Last month saw Architectus and Brisbane-based design practice Conrad Gargett merge business operations to become one of Australia’s largest architecture firms, with more than 700 employees across seven studios.

Significant projects for Architectus include the 2020 redevelopment of the heritage-listed State Library Victoria, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and the National Herbarium of NSW.

“Our collective is thrilled to be working alongside the ACT Government to deliver a world-class experience that has the potential to fuel the creative spirit of Canberra,” Architectus principal and public sector leader Dr Stephen Long said.

“We will approach the design process through the lense of the audience and the performers. We will continue to work from the inside out to create a National theatre with an international reputation.

“We will also work from the outside in to create a theatre that is enmeshed in the city and landscape, one that holds its place in the context of Canberra’s ensemble of National culture and arts buildings and brings vibrancy to the Canberra Civic and Cultural District. We seek to create a project that is an exemplar of elegance, function and sustainability.”

Henning Larsen is an international studio for architecture, landscape, and urbanism with design hubs in Copenhagen, New York, Hong Kong, Munich, Oslo, Sydney, and Singapore.

The Canberra partnership is not the first time the firm has worked with Arup on a project, having previously collaborated on Iceland’s Harpa Concert Hall.

Architectus and Arup also worked together recently on the Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney Modern Building.

“Together with Architectus and Arup, we’ve approached the design with great care considering the architecture and all other elements of design to create a vibrant and inclusive place that honours the history and beauty of the land,” Henning Larsen partner and design director Viggo Haremst said.

“A cultural hub that celebrates the community, its diverse heritage and artistic expression, where people come together to share in the power of performance and storytelling.”

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