$128.5 Million Hamer Hall Transformation Begins
Construction works are underway on the $128.5 million transformation of Melbourne’s iconic Hamer Hall into a riverfront venue, Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas announced today.
Mr Pallas was joined by Arts Minister Peter Batchelor, Member for Albert Park Martin Foley and Arts Centre Chief Executive Judith Isherwood on site as clearing works began on the exterior of the building.
“Today we start to open Hamer Hall up to the Yarra River promenade, transforming the popular concert venue into a riverfront venue that will re-invigorate Melbourne’s cultural centre as the vibrant heart of Southbank,” Mr Pallas said.
“This redevelopment will provide an open, accessible and imaginative precinct that will better connect the arts in Victoria to the community. These works will create a new outward facing venue that integrates seamlessly with new public spaces and the river.
“The Brumby Labor Government is investing in vital infrastructure like Hamer Hall because we understand how important it is to the community – boosting the local economy and creating 400 jobs while delivering a world-class arts and culture precinct for Melbourne.”
Mr Pallas said when the iconic Hamer Hall was first built in the 1980s it was the lynchpin of the redevelopment of Southbank.
“Now that Southbank has been transformed into a major destination for Victorians and visitors alike, it’s time to open up Hamer Hall to the river and to the many thousands of people who take in the riverside promenade each day,” he said.
“This redevelopment will breathe new life into the venue, while maintaining its unique character and ensuring it will be a state-of-the-art facility that invites people in and meets the needs of artists and audiences well into the future.”
Mr Batchelor said the new design was a clever rethink of the 30-year-old building that would increase access and maintain its much-loved heritage features.
“We are excited by how this great design incorporates a second entry to Hamer Hall, with access straight from the river bank promenade to the circle foyer,” he said.
“The plan is to replace the existing terrace over the river promenade and open up the current undercroft area, create a new civic stair and build a 24-hour lift to provide access from the river to St Kilda Road.
“For decades the Arts Centre has been one of the principal attractions for Southbank and this impressive redevelopment will ensure it remains so for many years to come.
“The project also provides vital upgrades to the hall’s acoustics, staging technologies and equipment, as well as its public foyers and visitor amenities. When complete, the hall will look better, sound better and be easier to get around than ever before.”
Ms Isherwood said the project would enable the Arts Centre to program a broader range of events and attract even more people to Hamer Hall.
“Our aim is to create a world class performance space for all Victorians that is open every day and into the evening,” Ms Isherwood said.
“The new design will ensure Hamer Hall can continue to attract world-class performances, provide the opportunity for us to develop a more diverse audience and to further showcase the important Arts Centre Collections through exhibitions and displays.”
The Hamer Hall refurbishment has been approved by Heritage Victoria and involves a rigorous documentation and management process to ensure its heritage features are treated sensitively.
Access between St.Kilda Road and Southbank will be maintained during construction, with extensive way-finding signage to direct the public through temporary diversions around the site.
Leading Australian construction company Baulderstone is delivering the redevelopment, with Hamer Hall expected to reopen in mid-2012.