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).

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Richard Watts OAM is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend, and was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize in 2020. In 2021 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Green Room Awards Association. Most recently, Richard received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in June 2024. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts