Latrobe Performing Arts Centre
In Association With
In late 2017, Jackson Architecture and Katsieris Origami won a design competition and was appointed the Principal Consultant for the Latrobe Creative Precinct. The project includes a new 750 seat Performing Arts Centre and the repurposing of the existing Performing Arts Centre as a Creative Industries Training Facility.
Occupying a large central block in Traralgon, the project also involves the creation of a public plaza, an outdoor stage and the integration of Traralgon’s Public Library.
Vision: Connecting Past Present & Future
Our vision draws upon the Latrobe Valley’s rich timber history and, in partnership with local industry, creates an exemplar precinct of iconic timber construction. It showcases a new era of engineered timber capability, imagination, production and construction in the Latrobe Valley and Traralgon.
Forrest as Metaphor
The new Performing Arts Centre symbolically communicates the idea of the forest as a unique design metaphor. In this way, both the history and future of the Latrobe Valley, as a place of timber production, become linked in the public imagination. The design of abstracted ‘tree’ structures in engineered timber and a ‘variegated forest canopy’ with structural cross laminated timber to the main foyer offer beauty, lightness, welcome and accessibility.
Adaptive Re-use: Creative Industries Centre
The Creative Industries Centre makes ideal re-use of the existing Performing Arts Centre, transforming two large and one small auditorium into flexible studio-style teaching spaces for ballet, sculpture, the visual arts or other creative pursuits. Flexible furniture allows spaces to be reconfigured for focused teaching, or collaboration, encouraging interaction.
Precinct Landscape & Outdoor Rooms
A key component of the design is the network of open spaces that weave between the buildings and throughout the site. External open spaces work together in both public event mode as well as being readily understood, attractive and safe public spaces for everyday occupation and use by the community. These provide a series of outdoor urban rooms, each with their own distinct character that come together to create a greater narrative.
Access & Movement through the Precinct
A fundamental aim was to create public pedestrian accessway through the site. The diagonal public concourse creates a 24 hour north-south link connecting the new public plaza at Kay Street to the open public event space.
The new public plaza, created through the careful erasure of part of the existing library, establishes the primary entrance for the new Performing Arts Centre. It also mediates the scale of the new build with its context.
Symbolism & the Regional Economy
The design is predicated on the idea that this project represented a unique moment in the region’s history. It provided an opportunity to communicate a new spirit for the Latrobe Valley through the symbolic use timber.
Our idea was that ‘engineered’ timber could become a key element in the economic transformation of the new Latrobe Valley with our building offering a built demonstration of current and future timber-engineering industries.
As we had hoped, the timber is being supplied from Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) located in Heyfield, about 40 minutes north of Traralgon.
Well on its way, this major cultural infrastructure project proposes to create a dynamic and exciting precinct through its architectural expression, establishing Traralgon as the major cultural hub in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland region.