VICTORIA PARK URBAN THEATRE
Designed as part of a multi-faceted vision for the Eastern part of Brisbane’s luscious Victoria Park Golf Course, the Urban Theatre is a dynamic modern Cinema which rests comfortably along the rolling contours of the site. The design is an exciting platform for public events, with the major focus being on developing socially active cinemas – ones which are able to influence the public realm around them, and vice versa.
Dealing with a sloping site is never easy, particular when each side of the site slopes in opposite directions. In order to fully integrate the cinema into the site, the architect has nestled the building into the earth, following the existing contours of the golf course. This provides a strong public link between the Creative Industries Academy to the North, and Sports Centre to the South. The centrepiece of the Urban Theatre is an open air cinema, located centrally within the new site vision. The open air cinema is an urban activator, which draws and displays large crowds, whilst also providing a public piazza when not in use. By integrating this with a large mall-type space and transparent façade, the design becomes a two-way performance space where both the occupants, and the surrounding site are on exhibit.
The blades on the Eastern facade and roof of the open air theatre are designed through a parametric algorithm, and optimised for the locale. This algorithm is based off two specific functions. The first, is based on attractor point methodology to angle the blades in order to best cope with natural light, and provide views to the south east and west of the site.The second function determines the depth of each blade at any given point, and is based upon another series of attractors which represent public areas and those which need higher levels of natural light.
This dynamic design approach also led to the creation of an operable wall cinema, which doubles as a performance stage to both the Cinema and the laneway, which has a small amphitheatre linked to the Creative Industries Academy. This allows the two buildings to operate together, and create exciting laneway events, shows, and exhibitions of student work.
The design also exhibits materials typical of Australian design. The exterior of the cinemas is covered in weathered timber battens, suspended green wall trellis systems at the southern end. This, coupled with the exposed steel and glass of the eastern façade, creates a design which feels open and airy, while giving a strong sense of solid and void in its play of form.
The Victoria Park Urban Theatre is a strong representation of Australian outdoor culture. The design incorporates creates a dynamic link between indoors and outdoors, providing exciting transitions and a lively rooftop terrace. Consisting of a mixture of retail and dining, the ethos of the design was to provide large open plan spaces which incorporate the public and provide opportunities to engage the surrounding urban fabric.