The highly regarded Robin Gibson-designed Queensland Performing Arts Centre, (QPAC) opened in 1985, is being refurbished and modernised. A prime consideration for doing so has been difficulties of access, especially for the disabled. Other significant matters concern the adequacy of parking, way-finding within the complex and lack of a significant address. There is also a need to enlarge bars, foyers and associated amenities.
Image source: Cox Architecture
The Palaszczuk government, pointing out that the QPAC’s existing facilities have reached 90% capacity, has announced $150 million funding for the new Centre. It is to enhance those facilities, to give the Queensland Ballet a new home and to improve the state’s prospects of attracting international success. The QPAC itself will contribute $25 million of this for what is to be a 1500 – 1700 seat new theatre, doubling the size of what is available now. The theatre will be built on the Playhouse Green site. Cox Architecture have been commissioned to design the refurbishment. The theatre which will meet the increasing demand for multiple art forms like ballet, opera, drama and musicals, is to be completed by 2022. State-of the art technology will facilitate live-streaming of events to regional Queensland which makes up 30% of QPAC’s audience. QPAC is currently the busiest theatre complex in Australia and, with the new investment in the arts, likely to remain so, catering for an increasing demand currently difficult to meet.
Understanding that the complex is continuously in use, an effort is being made to make necessary modifications without shutting the complex down and any needless compromising of Robin Gibson’s valued design.
The opening of QPAC in 1985 made a positive impact on Queensland; the Centre’s updating and refurbishment promises to have the same effect, creating opportunities for arts companies of all sizes to continue the tradition.