News & Media

Plans unveiled for Southbank Cultural Precinct Hamer Hall redevelopment announced

Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s cultural capital is secure with a $128.5 million plan to transform and open up the St Kilda Road Arts precinct to the Yarra River with a redevelopment of the internationally renowned Hamer Hall.
Premier John Brumby today unveiled the design concepts for the long-term vision of the precinct and a complete overhaul of the professional and audience features of the Melbourne’s major concert hall.
“From Princes Bridge and south along St Kilda Road we have an array of world-class cultural facilities, the Arts Centre, the NGV and the nearly complete Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre project on Southbank Boulevard,” Mr Brumby said.
“In 2006 we committed $5 million for the development of a masterplan and today that masterplan has moved forward with a major overhaul of Hamer Hall announced as part of a $128.5 million package. “Arts and culture have always been, and are increasingly, major drawcards for Melbourne, attracting international and interstate visitors and contributing to the identity and liveability of the city.
“Up to 400 jobs will be created though the project which will see our arts hub complementing – and connecting with – our world class sports precinct.
“This project is a long-term plan for us to maintain our competitive advantage well into the future and create a place where all Victorians and visitors can experience the best arts and cultural activities from Australia and around the world.”
The $128.5 million package involves a major renovation of Hamer Hall including:
A major new crystalline form on the river terrace of Hamer Hall, providing new connections, amenities and a spectacular new outlook to the city;
New and expanded foyer spaces;
New connections with the city, St Kilda Road and river, with new stairs, improved disability access, escalators and lifts;
Improved acoustics, new auditorium seating, cutting edge staging systems and technology;
A new flexible multi-purpose performance venue;
Workshop and rehearsal spaces; and
Innovative approaches to sustainability including power generation and waste and water management.Arts Minister Lynne Kosky said the Arts Centre’s founders had an extraordinary vision for Melbourne and created a network of venues – the most complex of their time – that ensured that the people of Victoria had access to the best in the arts.
“There will be better acoustics, better staging systems and technology, better box office facilities and new auditorium seating to enjoy a greater range of performances – more world music, jazz, circus, physical theatre and the like,” Ms Kosky said.
“We will relocate the Black Box performance venue in Hamer Hall to provide a more flexible space for a greater range of contemporary work and allow opportunities for late night performances and see a doubling of seats to 200.
“There will also be new workshop and rehearsal spaces and in line with contemporary thinking, Hamer Hall will feature innovative approaches to power generation and waste and water management
“We will create a new outward facing venue that integrates seamlessly with new public spaces and the river. We will enhance the unique heritage character of this defining Melbourne icon and make it more accessible and inviting to the public.”
In addition to the Hamer Hall works, an extensive community consultation process will also be undertaken along with further detailed design development for the surrounding precinct, including the Theatres Building.
The Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment Masterplan outlines a vision for the modernisation of the Arts Centre, a proposed new pedestrian promenade over Sturt Street, a major new plaza and other new and revitalised public spaces.
The redesign of Hamer Hall will also feature green elements  including strategically placed wind turbines and water features, contribute to the environmental sustainability of the precinct with innovative approaches to power generation and waste and water management.