The Ian Potter Southbank Centre – A new home for Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

The Melbourne Conservatorium will relocate from its historic home in Parkville to new state-of-the-art teaching, learning, rehearsal and performance spaces at the $104.5 million Ian Potter Southbank Centre, designed by leading architect John Wardle and supported by The Ian Potter Foundation, Myer Foundation and family and the Victorian Government.

Ian Potter Southbank Centre
Artist's impression of the Ian Potter Southbank Centre from Dodds Street. Image courtesy of John Wardle Architects.

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre will offer state-of-the-art teaching, learning, rehearsal and performance facilities in a building designed by leading architect John Wardle.

The $104.5 million project is the centrepiece of a once-in-a-generation transformation of arts training facilities on the University of Melbourne’s Southbank campus, and will consolidate Conservatorium staff and students with staff and students of the Victorian College of the Arts in the heart of Melbourne's Arts Precinct.

With significant support from the Ian Potter Foundation and the Myer Foundation and family, the project will include a 400-plus-seat auditorium, as well as a public square that will contribute to the community space plan for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the Victorian Government was proud to partner with the University of Melbourne – and with its philanthropic supporters the Ian Potter Foundation and the Myer Foundation and family – to make the Ian Potter Southbank Centre project happen.

“The new Conservatorium will be a transformative link in our arts precinct that will boost our cultural and educational offering and attract the best and brightest talent to our creative state. It will further help build Southbank’s Sturt Street as the cultural hub of Melbourne,” Mr Foley said.

Mr Martyn Myer, who alongside The Myer Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation has made a significant contribution to the Ian Potter Southbank Centre project, said philanthropy had been critical in bringing the project into existence.

“Philanthropy has played a foundational role in leveraging available resources to enable the complete transformation of the Southbank campus into one of the world's very best arts education precincts."

“The Conservatorium will be a new jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s legendary musical landscape, and one that demonstrates the profound effect of philanthropy on the cultural fabric of our city."

Eminent architect John Wardle sees the Ian Potter Southbank Centre as a celebration of music rehearsal and practice that encourages curiosity and interaction between musicians and the community.

“The activity of the students within the new building will be brought to the street and campus with choreographed views that are revealed as building corners unfold or a window allows for a privileged view of the process of rehearsal," said Mr Wardle. "A conversation emerges between the curious passer-by and the rehearsing musician, encouraging interaction between the musician and their community."

“Multiple vantage points in the new conservatorium allow for appreciating the inner workings of music education.

“The learning and rehearsal spaces, both small and large, are interspersed with bell-shaped portholes, hinged panels and disguised windows that generously exhibit the activity within. A large oculus window into the ground floor orchestral rehearsal space unlocks the traditional vault of music education to reveal its inner realm."

Feedback and Consultation

The Southbank Campus Redevelopment program has been undertaken in close collaboration with the Victorian State Government, our philanthropic partners, the University of Melbourne, Faculty staff and students, and our Southbank neighbours.

To discuss the project, ask questions or give feedback please contact our project team at southbank-redevelopment@unimelb.edu.au.

Principal partners

Architects

Architect

  • John Wardle Architects

Features

  • 400-plus-seat auditorium – available for public when not in use by the Faculty
  • Rehearsal spaces
  • Teaching and learning facilities
  • Acoustic excellence
  • Open spaces and walkways connecting the Ian Potter Southbank Centre to the Southbank Campus and the Melbourne Arts Precinct

Cost

  • $104.5 million

Timeframe

  • The large-scale program of works including design, tender and construction began in November 2015 and is due for completion in early 2019

Principal Partners

  • Ian Potter Foundation
  • Myer family and Myer Foundation
  • Victorian Government
  • City of Melbourne

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