Blueprint for a better Arts Precinct

It was conceived during 2011 and still meanders on today. Released last month was an interim update surrounding the Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint which principally concerns itself with:

A connected Arts Precinct that is a must-see part of Melbourne, known for its distinctive character and vibrant arts experiences.

The Blueprint sets out a range of strategies to achieve this vision, grouped around four themes - bring life to the streets, create a ‘Melbourne’ experience, more to see and do, and make connections. These strategies propose a range of actions to bring the dynamism and creativity of the Arts Precinct’s artistic community out into the streets.

In and amongst the 55 page document are some telling faults identified with the Arts Precinct. Inward-looking buildings (NGV being a prime example), a general lack of street life, poor shared identity for the precinct and urban barriers such as CityLink all combine to make the Arts Precinct a less than ideal area to traverse by foot. This in turn negates activity and interaction.

To mitigate these negatives highlighted within the Blueprint, four key topics have been identified as areas to address. Bringing life to the streets, creating a Melbourne experience, more to see and do plus making connections are the four headline aspirations. They all sound very rosy, yet how will these four aspirations if implemented correctly transform the area?

Below is a set of before and after images which depict a more user friendly Arts Precinct. The public realm looks to have been transformed from one large monotonous setting into a series of far smaller, finer grain experiences where choice of amenity is king. Drawing a parallel so some of the CBD's laneways there seems to be a mass of smaller, dynamic venues destined for the Arts Precinct.

This in turn promotes intimacy, interest and spontaneity in the area...and above all increased use.

Accumulated before and after concept images for the precinct. Image courtesy City of Melbourne

As promising as the above images are the Blueprint notes that an Arts Precinct Public Realm Plan is to be developed, with further discussions held during 2014-2015.

Committees, agendas, meetings and working parties - without putting too fine a point on the issue, the Arts Precinct and Southbank at large are in dire need of such a plan so hurry it up people!

See the full Blueprint here.

Development & Planning

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 00:00
More than 8,000 square metres of land in Wheelers Hill has been give the development green light by Monash City Council. At the turn of December Council chose to endorse an application to develop vacant land at 161-169 Jells Road for a multi-level aged care facility.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.