A closer look at ABC Southbank's new digs

Premier Denis Napthine may have turned the first sod at ABC's Southbank redevelopment mid February, but the first tangible signs of construction is due this month as site demolition commences. Incorporating the adjoining car park at 102 Sturt Street, the $176 million dollar expansion will see ABC's Ripponlea complex abandoned in favour of a larger Southbank premises which will also house the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Premier Napthine during the ceremony remarked “This exciting project represents the ABC’s long-term commitment to Melbourne... The cost of construction will be $176 million and will generate about 300 full time jobs in Victoria over the life of the project, which is expected to produce indirect benefits of $491.5 million.”

The first feature to catch the eye is COX Architecture's luminous, open design. The current ABC Southbank Centre at 120 Southbank Boulevard looks very much 1990's with a strong street level bluestone edifice and dark recessed windows - not the most welcoming of buildings. Enter the new ABC Melbourne Accommodation Project (MAP) with its transparent facade that provides a highly visible internal environment when viewed externally.

When including a full-height void facing Southbank Boulevard, the design seeks to give something back to the public via interaction rather than isolation. If and when the Arts Precinct Blueprint is adopted, the new MAP building will fit within the blueprint nicely.

The MAP building involves the design and construction of a new southern building over the aforementioned adjoining car park while the current ABC Centre will be essentially stripped back to the concrete structure and augmented. The eventual common building will house over 30,000 sqm of Gross Floor Area, a marked increase over the existing facility.

Included within the new extension are 77 below ground car parking spaces, 122 bicycle bays and four rain water tanks whilst car park ramps, services and loading bays are all accessed via Moore Street. This in turn allows office production facilities to front both Sturt Street and Southbank Boulevard whilst Studio 31 will hug the western boundary. A large rooftop terrace will sit atop the bluestone annex.

Like many projects that suffer delays for a myriad of reasons, head contractor Probuild's initial 2013 Target Program has slipped and has no doubt been superseded by an amended version. After suffering a roughly four month delay in demolition, the project looks set to achieve an early 2017 completion as works commence this month.

The final product will go a long way to enhancing its immediate surrounds.

For further reading and to see more architectural drawings, view the PDF on the Parliament of Australia website.

1 comment

Rohan Storey's picture

Certainly better than existing but maybe renders dont do justice, its just not very impressive for a major cultural facility.

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