Student to design $2m Lake Macquarie arts centre

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The Lake Macquarie Multi-Arts Space by Samantha Bailey.

The Lake Macquarie Multi-Arts Space by Samantha Bailey. Image: Samantha Bailey

Following a student-only competition, a design by a University of Newcastle undergraduate student has been selected for a waterfront arts centre on Lake Macquarie that will open in 2020. 

The design, by University of Newcastle architecture student Samantha Bailey, was chosen from a pool of 90 submissions by students at the university. It calls for a multipurpose building in Speers Point Park capable of housing visual and performing arts shows and exhibitions, as well as a commercial kitchen for catered events.

Bailey said she “wanted to emphasize the beauty of the site, and to create a building that will make people see the lake in a different light.”

The project received state government funding in May 2018 and the mayor of Lake Macquarie, Kay Fraser, announced at the time the building will be “designed by final-year University of Newcastle architecture students to a high-quality, contemporary brief incorporating the best principles of environmentally sustainable design.” 

Fraser said the council wanted a “landmark” building that would act as a “talking point for the community and most importantly a state of the art space to showcase our arts and culture.”

She said Bailey’s design “had the most potential to be developed as a significant cultural and arts space for Lake Macquarie. It stood out for its creativity, its thorough understanding of the brief and its potential relationship to the surrounding landscape.”

In announcing the winning design NSW arts minister Don Harwin said, “This competition is such a unique opportunity, giving the next generation of talented young architects the chance to flex their creative muscles and design the concept for a major arts and culture landmark for Lake Macquarie.”

Jacquie Hemsley, Lake Macquarie council’s manager of cultural services, said, “This new facility will activate Speers Point Park by day and night. It will help establish northern Lake Macquarie as one of the region’s major cultural destinations, with the potential to attract national and international artists and exhibitions.” 


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