The Queensland Premier, Anna Palaszczuk, has announced that architects Blight-Rayner and Snøhetta have been awarded the tender for designing a new $150 million theatre to join the stage at Southbank’s Queensland Cultural Centre. It is being planned to be a world-class facility constructed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The stunning new design respects Robin Gibson’s original work while providing a unique identity for Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s fifth theatre. An international competition with a rigorous assessment process resulted in the winning design. It features a superb glass façade, transparent foyer areas and two new studio spaces. The design sensitively fits in with the heritage setting of QPAC and respects the site’s history.
From an economic standpoint, the construction phase will generate 100 new jobs and sustain over 40 jobs when finished and functioning. The Premier has committed $125 million toward the project is the biggest such investment in Queensland arts infrastructure since GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and will make QPAC the largest performing arts centre in Australia.
The Queensland Cultural centre is a cultural icon which attracted 7 million visits in 2017-18. The new theatre will increase capacity by another 260 performances annually and is expected to attract a further 300,000 each year. The new theatre will provide even further opportunity to showcase local and international talent. Government architect Malcolm Middleton who chaired the evaluation panel has said that the building will glow during the night and sparkle throughout the day.
The new studios are to be positioned under the theatre where they will potentially open up the public realm with performances being visible to people in the streets. By so doing it is hoped that there will be enhanced engagement between the arts and the people, thus projecting possibilities for a re-imagining of the future for such theatre.
Progress on this exciting project can also be seen with the shortlist of tenderers for Managing Contractors. They are Multiplex Constructions QLD Pty Ltd, Watpac, CPB Contractors and Lend Lease. The winning tender will be announced later in the year. Whoever wins will participate in the design process and manage the construction. This will commence next year (2020) with a completion date target in 2022. This new theatre featuring superlative modern design, underpinned by committed funding and a serious commitment to the arts is another positive step in Brisbane’s ambition to be one of the most enticing southern hemisphere cities of the 21st century.