ARM is designing the project’s third and largest stage, known as the Little Malop Street Redevelopment.
Geelong Arts Centre Little Malop Street Redevelopment is located on the lands of the Wadawurrung People.
The $140 million project, known as the Little Malop Street Redevelopment, will position the building as a visionary hallmark in the city’s cultural precinct. On completion The Geelong Arts Centre will be Australia’s largest regional arts centre, home to a diverse range of performance venues and spaces.
Honouring the precinct’s existing campus-like layout, the building has been envisioned as a series of destinations each with their own design narrative, where new and existing facilities connect via paths from Ryrie Street to Little Malop Street.
“Each element of the external design is enriched with a story of its own, whether that be visual references relating back to performance, the historical context of the site, or to Wadawurrung culture and traditions,” says ARM Founding Director, Ian McDougall.
Externally, a concrete drape feature runs across the front of the building, complementing a circus Calliope-shaped entrance referencing early histories of travelling performance in Victoria.
Amplifying the voices of the local First Nations community, ARM worked closely with Wadawurrung artist Kait James, and local First Nations artists Tarryn Love, Gerard Black and Mick Ryan to showcase First Nations stories throughout the campus.
Each of the building’s four levels evokes a different Wadawurrung creation narrative, with Earth and Ochre Country expressed at ground level, ascending to Moonah Forest Country, Sky Country and Night Sky on level four. It’s telling the story of Djilang (Geelong), and of the profound traditions of performance on the Wadawurrung site for thousands of years. It’s a celebration of everything Geelong is.
The building’s internal layout has been designed as a series of multi-purpose spaces, each lending themselves to a variety of arts, performance and general community uses. This includes a 500-seat theatre that expands to 800 in ‘live gig’ mode, a 250-seat hybrid theatre connected to the Little Malop Street Plaza, and a range of event spaces, including foyers, bars and alfresco dining all of which facilitate diverse community experiences from concerts and exhibitions to festivals and markets.
“We’re revitalising Geelong’s arts and culture precinct and GAC’s redevelopment is a key part of that, creating hundreds of jobs and providing a world-class venue.”
—Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries
The Geelong Arts Centre Little Malop Street Redevelopment is due for completion late 2023. Funded by the Victorian Government, the project is being delivered by Geelong Arts Centre, Development Victoria and Creative Victoria, with builders LendLease.