Shortlist revealed for $150 million Brisbane theatre design competition

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The western facade of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, designed by Robin Gibson and Partners.

The western facade of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, designed by Robin Gibson and Partners. Image: Wiki Commons

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Queensland Performing Arts Centre by Robin Gibson and Partners.

Queensland Performing Arts Centre by Robin Gibson and Partners. Image: Wiki commons

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Southbank's Queensland Cultural Centre was heritage listed in 2015.

Southbank’s Queensland Cultural Centre was heritage listed in 2015. Image: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

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Preliminary design of the redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre by Conrad Gargett.

Preliminary design of the redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre by Conrad Gargett. Image: Queensland Ballet/ Conrad Gargett

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The Queensland government has announced the practices that have been invited to submit designs in a national design competition for a proposed $150 million theatre at the heritage-listed Queensland Cultural Centre in Brisbane.

Following an expression of interest process, which generated 24 eligible submissions, the practices shortlisted are:

  • Snøhetta and Blight Rayner Architecture
  • Cox Architecture and Amanda Levete Architects
  • ARM Architecture and M3 Architecture
  • Richard Kirk Architects and Kerry Hill Architects
  • Henning Larsen and Wilson Architects (Architects in Association)

The minimum 1,500-seat venue will be operated by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), and will be constructed on the Playhouse Green site on the corner of Grey and Russell streets. The theatre will be the new home of the Queensland Ballet, while also hosting performances from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre.

The state government announced a $125 million allocation to the project in its 2018 budget. QPAC will contribute the remaining $25 million.

In a statement, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “With QPAC nearing full capacity, this new theatre will ensure our state’s four home companies […] can continue to grow and will enable them to perform in front of audiences that will be double their usual size.”

Queensland arts minister Leeanne Enoch said, “All submissions in the EOI process were rigorously assessed by the tender evaluation committee, which was led by the Chair, Mr Malcolm Middleton OAM, Queensland Government Architect, against criterion including capability and capacity, relevant experience and local benefits. 

“I’m delighted to see a number of high-quality Queensland firms on the shortlist.”

The original components of the heritage-listed Queensland Culture Centre were designed by Brisbane architects Robin Gibson and Partners and opened in 1985. The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art building, completed in 2006, was designed by Kerry and Lindsay Clare of Architectus. In 2007, the building was awarded the national award for public architecture by the Australian Institute of Architects. Also completed in 2006, an extension to the State Library of Queensland designed by Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorp was awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for public architecture.

A Conservation Management Plan developed by Conrad Gargett in 2017 for the Queensland Cultural Centre will help inform the design. 

Conrad Gargett was also appointed to design the redevelopment of Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre, a training facility and intimate performance venue located in Brisbane’s West End.

More information can be found on the project’s website.


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