Expanded to coincide with the Opera Australia performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the innovative redevelopment at Arts Centre Melbourne has significantly increased the State Theatre orchestra pit capacity from 65 to 110 musicians, and provides the opportunity to host further large scale productions in Victoria.
The design involved removal of the existing cantilevered concrete slab under the first two rows of seats, which were replaced with movable seating wagons on an operable lift platform. The dynamic platform can be lowered to provide an expanded pit, moved to floor level to retain the existing seating configuration and pit size, or raised to stage level for an extended stage.
Arup’s design for a new modular pit handrail situated between the front row patrons and the pit also allows users to now select three configurations – acoustically transparent, reflective or absorptive – dependent on the performance.
Working within a tight timeframe of three weeks to accommodate the theatre’s performance schedule, the main demolition and building works were successfully completed on time and under budget, with key stakeholders very pleased with the redevelopment works.
As principal consultant on the project, Arup provided acoustic, structural and fire engineering advice to Arts Centre Melbourne, as well as contract administration services for the construction phase.
The project won the Construction/Engineering Award for projects under AU$100m at the 2013 Australian Institute of Project Management, Project Management Achievement Awards (Vic).
© State Theatre