Overcoming threshold anxiety

Geelong Arts Centre’s redevelopment opens the venue up to the public eye, in a way that’s deliberately designed to ensure the building is welcoming to those who may feel the arts are not for them.

From Roy Grounds’ bunker-like design of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building and Hamer Hall (as well as the neighbouring National Gallery of Victoria) to Robin Gibson’s iconic brutalist design for Queensland Performing Arts Centre, for many decades arts venues have often turned their backs to the world.

‘Originally, I think such designs were about security – an idea about these sorts of building as containers for precious objects, and certainly the NGV was conceived in that way,’ says Simon Knott (FRAIA), Founding Principal at BKK Architects (whose projects include the recent renewal of ACMI at Federation Square).

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts