Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company
The Melbourne Recital Centre and the Melbourne Theatre Company, the two striking buildings on the corner of Sturt Street and Southbank Boulevard, have set new standards in theatre and music presentation in Victoria. The complex, which opened in early 2009, has enhanced and developed Melbourne's reputation as a major centre for arts and culture in Australia.
Masterpieces of design and construction, the buildings form a key part of the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment, helping transform Southbank into an unparalleled arts precinct for Melbourne.
Melbourne Theatre Company's building comprises the 500 seat theatre Sumner Theatre and more intimate Lawler Studio for small-scale works.
Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) also comprises two main performance spaces, the 1,000 seat Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Hall and 150 seat Salon. The spaces achieve extraordinary standards in acoustic excellence that have reportedly caused musicians to weep at the beauty of the sound quality. To eliminate external noise, the building is surrounded by 250mm of concrete, mounted on 38 steel springs. The interiors are lined with hand-cut panels of native Australian Hoop Pine offset on the ground floor foyer by red furnishings which almost give the appearance of entering a giant violin case.
The Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company buildings are the result of a $128 million collaborative project between the Victorian Government (Major Projects Victoria and Arts Victoria), together with architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Arup (acoustic design) and Bovis Lend Lease (construction).
Since their unveiling in 2009, the buildings have received many accolades including:
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Premier's Design Award
- Shortlisted for the international Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Architecture Award
- Awarded the best building in Australia at the 2009 Master Builders' National Excellence in Building Construction Awards
- Awarded the Emil Sodersten Award for Interior Architecture at the Australian Institute of Architects' 2009 National Architecture Awards
- Shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards
- Four awards at the Victorian Architecture Awards: the 2009 Victorian Architecture Medal, the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture, the Marion Mahony Award for interior architecture and the Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design.
In addition, the Melbourne Recital Centre also received the National Award for Public Buildings at the 2009 Property Council of Australia Ride Levett Bucknall Awards for Innovation and Excellence.