The veil may have been lifted (or lowered) on Southbank's latest notable Arts Precinct project.
Denton Corker Marshall have via their website provided imagery for what was one of a number of invited competition entrants for Melbourne University's new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. The facility is expected to eventually consolidate the university's full music program to Southbank within the purpose built complex.
A three stage development process will see Victoria Police's Mounted Branch vacate their Dodds Street, Southbank address, allowing for the redevelopment of the stables into a new multipurpose facility for the Victorian College of the Arts. This in turn will facilitate the delivery of the new Conservatorium Building on what is now a vacant Sturt Street car park abutting the Southbank Theatre - Melbourne Theatre Company.
Whilst not successful, the Denton Corker Marshall imagery is representative of the intended building's outcome in both size and transparency. Denton Corker Marshall's entry would have provided a translucent design featuring a spiral staircase running the height of the building.
The northern facade would have also employed a stone finish in line with that of the neighbouring Southbank Theatre.
Melbourne University's move to relocate the existing Parkville-based Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to Southbank will allow the faculty to be positioned in the Melbourne Arts Precinct with institutions such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Hamer Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre nearby.
The new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and stables redevelopment forms part of the the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint, which sees a vision for a "connected Arts Precinct that is a must-see part of Melbourne, known for its distinctive character and vibrant arts experiences."
The Dodds Street stables development on the other hand is a roughly $40 million conversion with the result being a new visual arts wing for the Victorian College of the Arts.
Online plans directed toward Heritage Victoria outline the intended conversion of the 1912-1929 structure. The double storey stables wing is expected to become studio & exhibition space while the former riding school wing is earmarked to become performing arts space, leaving the prominent octagon to morph into an events space/gallery, administration and school front of house space.
According to the Melbourne University Magazine the project is supported by the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne, the Faculty and philanthropic bodies including the Myer Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation and Martyn and Louise Myer.