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Insight: architects on Melbourne’s ‘most flexible’ event space

Designers at NH Architecture, the firm behind Melbourne’s latest event space – CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park – have given an insight into the design process for the project.

Next to the central business district and parklands, and linked by footpath, rail, road and river, the venue has expansive windows and outdoor terraces with a view to ‘bringing the outside in’.

Design Lead and NH Architecture Director Hamish Lyon said, “CENTREPIECE celebrates all that we love about our city and truly captures ‘Melbourness’ at its most marvellous – including its community, people and culture.

“Every touch point has been designed with keeping guests connected to the city, whether it’s a large-scale function, gala or intimate sit-down lunch – there is a physical or emotive link in each room and space.

“For example, we incorporated skylights into the pre-function area to bathe the room in daylight, built in large floor-to-ceiling windows, and have also included direct access to the terrace from the function room, so that guests can enjoy unparalleled views of Melbourne’s city skyline. These elements are considered features for guests whose events last the whole day. It allows them to appreciate and understand the movement from morning to evening.”

NH Architecture was selected to design CENTREPIECE as part of the event precinct’s third and final stage of its AUD972m redevelopment. The firm has worked on other projects in the city, including the Arts Centre Melbourne, MYER, and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion.

As part of the design process, NH Architecture embarked on a world tour to research venue leaders across the sporting, entertainment and events spaces.

“We visited global cities including Barcelona, Seoul, Berlin, Dallas and London – and, to our surprise, found many convention and sporting centres were similar in look and feel. There was no major point of difference – they could have been almost anywhere in the world and didn’t celebrate the uniqueness their respective cities had to offer.

📢#constructionupdate The @lendlease team, who are building CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park, have passed a key milestone – installing 227 tonnes of Australian steel to the roof of our venue which is coming soon!!!!These steel beams are able to support any production requirements for your event, with points of the rigging frame strong enough to hold 2.5 tonnes which is equivalent to two mini coopers 🚗 We can’t wait to see the crown of our marvellous venue completed and look forward to welcoming events when the venue opens next year! #eventprofs #events #centrepiecemelbourne #melbourne #construction

Posted by Centrepiece at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, 5 May 2020

 

“When the venue is completed late next year, guests will see how the materials and colours chosen reflect Melbourne. For guests, it will feel more like a civic building, with a real sensation that you’re going somewhere special. Somewhere designed with a high-end quality finish and not just the standard function room or centre – and we’re very excited to see it all come to life,” said Lyon.

The design team was challenged to create the ‘ultimate flexible event space’ that could host conferences one day and act as a media centre for the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam the next.

Jan Vastesaeger, Senior Associate of NH Architecture said: “The flexibility and the double nature of the building operationally means there is a higher degree of interconnectivity and pathways that exist. Another key aspect of the development that the general public wouldn’t necessarily see is CENTREPIECE’s logistics and back-of-house infrastructure.

“It was a major part of the puzzle to resolve – how the venue connects and supports its surrounding venues and facilities at its lower levels to become the central beating heart for the precinct.”

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