As the first stage in a master plan that aimed to enliven and make Gorman House more accessible to the community, this project sought to reposition the Art Centre’s management at the heart of the place, and to reveal the elegance of the J.S Murdoch building composition. Historic plans and photographs were considered as a means to reveal opportunities for visual permeability, reconnection of the streetscape to central courtyards, and to clarify architectural way finding cues that would enable better engagement between the Arts Centre’s programming and the public.
The refurbishment plans for the Bogong Theatre, foyers and office sought to uncover a strong pre-existing language of glazed windows and doors, datum lines consisting of mouldings and structural elements and ceiling height changes. Former openings were reinstated with sympathetic new window and door joinery, and modern fittings and furnishings were selected to complement the scale and proportion of the historic architecture.
Redbox Design Group, the project’s landscape architects, were responsive to the way-finding demands required for the entry forecourts. Working collaboratively, a balance was found that enabled the potential of the spaces to cater for events such as markets, while allowing overflow from theatre foyers, and everyday arrival and departures. New lighting, bicycle parking, street furniture and planting gives the centre’s approach clarity and a contemporary formality within the heritage setting.
The most visible internal and external spaces of Gorman Arts Centre are now its proudest spaces, projecting a confident image of a contemporary arts organisation. The entry forecourts are useable and inviting; the Bogong Theatre is equipped with a kitchen as well as its bio-box; and the centre office accommodates board meetings, informal meetings and sufficient staff to operate the busy arts centres and their programming.