The first designs have been unveiled for the redevelopment of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre, showing a striking new entrance to the region’s premier arts space.
Designed by international Melbourne-based architecture studio, HASSELL, the project will redefine GPAC, and cement its position as Victoria’s leading regional performing arts centre.
The new Ryrie Street entrance provides an impressive new façade for the 35-year-old centre while vastly improving accessibility and amenity, bringing it up to contemporary standards, and providing an inviting new experience for visitors from across Geelong, the region and beyond.
The $38.5 million Stage 2 of GPAC’s redevelopment follows the major overhaul in 2010 of the 750-seat Playhouse Theatre – the much loved heart of GPAC – which will continue to operate with minimum disruption while works are undertaken.
It will also see the expansion and improvement of rehearsal facilities, new dance studios and provision for creative industries offices. The new building on Ryrie Street will open onto a new two-level foyer, which will connect to the rear of the Playhouse and the Church.
In addition to the announcement of the design team, led by HASSELL’s Head of Design Mark Loughnan, originally from Geelong, Major Projects Victoria will lead the project. The design has also been reviewed by the Victorian Government Architect and the planning approval process will commence shortly.
GPAC is Victoria’s only state-owned cultural institution outside of Melbourne. It brings a wide array of creative and cultural experiences to Geelong and the region, and has given many local artists their first taste of the stage, including Hollywood stars Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths.
Construction is on track to begin in mid-2017 and Stage 2 is slated for completion in late 2018 subject to planning approval.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
“Facilities like GPAC play a vital role in our creative state – they add to the liveability and vibrancy of our cities, attract visitors and investment, inspire people of all ages, and serve as creative community meeting places.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville
“Originally built for a population of 140,000 people, GPAC has well outgrown its current facilities – it is well used by the community and this development will ensure GPAC can cater to Geelong’s growing population.”
Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens
“This project will not only modernise GPAC and provide a stunning architectural landmark for the city, it will also help attract more tourists to Geelong, creating more local jobs.”
Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren
“I look forward to seeing this project come to life and give Geelong a new contemporary, accessible and inspiring creative and cultural hub.”