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Major redevelopment of Melbourne’s arts precinct planned

The Victorian government has announced plans to redevelop Melbourne’s arts precinct in Southbank with two new buildings and new and renewed public spaces, masterplanned by ARM Architecture and Taylor Cullity Lethlean.

The redevelopment will include a standalone contemporary art and design gallery for the National Gallery of Victoria on the site of the existing Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) building at 77 Southbank Boulevard, which is opposite the ABC’s Melbourne headquarters by Cox Architecture and diagonally opposite the Melbourne Recital Centre by ARM Architecture. The proposed NGV Contemporary will be the largest contemporary art gallery in Victoria. Premier Daniel Andrews told media it would be three times the size of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania.

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A new creative hub is planned for 1 City Road, currently the site of the temporary Testing Grounds creative space. It will house the Australian Performing Arts Gallery and Australian Music Vault, as well as administrative, education and research facilities and a new centre for independent and small- to medium-sized arts organizations.

The two sites bookend the existing Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre (1988) designed by Hassell, led by John Morphett who was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects 2000 Gold Medal. The building also houses ACMI X, a 60-seat creative co-working designed by Six Degrees.

The new public space in the proposed redevelopment of Melbourne's Southbank arts precinct will include an elevated pedestrian park and an outdoor performance space.

The new public space in the proposed redevelopment of Melbourne’s Southbank arts precinct will include an elevated pedestrian park and an outdoor performance space.

Image: Courtesy Victorian government

The Arts Centre’s Roy Grounds-designed Theatres building would also receive upgrades, with refurbishments to its theatres and public spaces.

The redevelopment also includes a new 18,000 square metre public space at the rear of NGV International. It will include an elevated pedestrian park and an outdoor performance space. The new public space will connect the proposed facilities to the existing cultural institutions on St Kilda Road.

“This once-in-a-generation redevelopment of Southbank and the arts precinct will create thousands of jobs and attract millions of visitors from across Victoria, Australia and the world,” said premier Daniel Andrews. “It’s a game-changer for our city that will cement Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia.”

The government has committed $208 million over two years to kick start a philanthropic fund raising campaigns for the NGV and the Arts Centre.

A spokesperson for the premier told ArchitectureAU the funding is required for the purchase of the CUB site and costs associated with the design phase.

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