Geelong Arts Centre - Placemaking Vision and Framework
Geelong, VIC - ARM Architecture (2019)
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Image courtesy of Geelong Arts Centre
The Geelong Arts Centre (‘GAC’) is working with the State Government on delivering the final stage of GAC’s redevelopment, which sits in the heart of the Geelong Cultural Precinct. The project includes new and upgraded theatres and other creative venues, more eateries and new public spaces. GAC’s planning and design approach has been very user focused, to ensure the best possible outcomes for its current community and future visitors and participants.
Village Well were engaged by ARM Architecture to collaborate on creating the best possible experience for GAC’s users, including first time visitors who might not ordinarily come to a performing arts venue. Village Well led user and stakeholder engagement and collaborated with the design team to design and activate GAC’s expanded public spaces.
Village Well facilitated a creative visioning process involving a broad range of creative and local stakeholders, to ensure their needs and aspirations inform the overall place identity, design and customer-facing operations. Engagement involved Traditional Owners, State and local Government agencies, creative industry groups, GAC’s hirers and patrons and the broader Geelong community. A need for further conversations with young Indigenous people was recognised during the engagement process, and further workshops were hosted to ascertain their needs and aspirations for the Arts Centre.
Insights from the engagement process informed the development of a Place Experience Framework, which provided recommendations for the emerging concept for indoor and outdoor spaces, with a specific focus on the planning, design and activation of Geelong Arts Centre’s new public spaces and their customer-facing operations and programming.
This project has been successful in building positive relationships, raising awareness and interest and informing the concept design. It has revealed valuable new insights for the design team and GAC regarding user views and aspirations and important Wadawurrung stories and ongoing connections to this as a place of gathering, ritual and performance. An EOI is currently open for First Nations artists to present artwork and soundscape concepts, which reflect the significant Indigenous connection to Country, history and culture of the region, for incorporation into the design.