The new Geelong Arts Centre will become the country’s biggest regional arts centre, with new designs revealing state-of-the-art facilities and two flexible performance spaces to host local, national and international performers.
Designed by Victorian architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM), the $140 million Little Malop Street redevelopment project is creating around 600 construction jobs and providing opportunities for local apprentices.
The striking design brings together elements drawn from the history of Geelong – showcasing the region’s strong and continuing First Nations culture, its proximity to the ocean, and the local history of circus and theatre.
The new facility will include a 500-seat theatre that expands to an 800-person capacity in ‘live gig’ mode, as well as a hybrid theatre with more than 250 seats connected to the Little Malop Street Plaza.
The design features a playful connection portal with interactive lighting that joins it with the nearby Ryrie Street Building, as well as bars and alfresco dining for locals and visitors.
ARM worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation as co-designers to weave in stories of the lands, waters and skies as well as local ochres, jarosites from Bells Beach and greenstone found at Dog Rocks in Batesford.
Geelong’s history will be expressed in the Lascelles wool store-inspired moulded concrete walls and the design features a curtain shaped facade inspired by Victoria’s early history of performance, theatre and circus tents.
The flowing form also references the ripples of water and patterns of sand around Geelong.
The project is being delivered by a partnership between the Geelong Arts Centre, Creative Victoria, Development Victoria and Lendlease and is due to be completed by late 2023.