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Published: Sunday, July 20, 2008

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Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre

"The client, Liverpool City Council, required the design of the staged conversion of a derelict power station as a multi-use cultural centre to serve a range of professional and community groups in the region as well as accommodating touring productions by professional companies, special exhibitions and major one-off events." says Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects on Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre.

By: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects

Architecture-Page | Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
An exhibition gallery within the former Boiler House, with retained coal hoppers and access ways.

Words from the architect

The client, Liverpool City Council, required the design of the staged conversion of a derelict power station as a multi-use cultural centre to serve a range of professional and community groups in the region as well as accommodating touring productions by professional companies, special exhibitions and major one-off events.

Architecture-Page | Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
A gallery in the Turbine Hall.

The project required an extensive process of community consultation and workshops and completion to a very constrained budget. The first two stages, incorporating gallery, studio, office and rehearsal spaces and the theatre shell, were opened in October 1994 and incorporate a range of commissioned public artworks. The third stage followed in 1998. The major fourth stage has been completed in 2008.

Architecture-Page | Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
The heritage fabric of the building is conserved.

The Powerhouse serves, and has achieved a statewide reputation for innovation and excellence.

To provide a significant cultural facility for a rapidly growing, ethnically diverse area. To rehabilitate a heritage listed former Power Station.

The heritage building has been conserved, with minimal removal of the original fabric, including the remaining coal hoppers and steel access system. Original interior and exterior surfaces were left unpainted, retaining the patina of use from its life as a power station. New materials are simple and inexpensive, responding to the need for maximum durability and economy. The design integrates major commissioned artwork such as the Koori Floor Piece in the Turbine Hall by Judy Watson and local aboriginal tribes, and a reworking of the major western facade windows by Robyn Backen.

Architecture-Page | Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
The original Turbine Hall houses a large-scale exhibition and performance space, with a floor piece by Judy Watson.

The Casula Powerhouse combines a large Regional Gallery with arts production and performance spaces, within a heritage-listed disused power station on the Georges River. The heritage fabric of the building is conserved, with new facilities fitted into its exciting, large-scale spaces. The major volume, the Turbine Hall, is a multi-use space for large-scale activities and exhibitions, also providing a performance area with 750 seats.

The fourth stage of work comprises a fully conditioned Regional Gallery, art store, workshop, bookshop, office space and a 350-seat theatre.

Architecture-Page | Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
New office fitout amoungst the original Powerhouse equiptment.

Credits

  • Text: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
  • Photographs: Brett Boardman / Michael Nicholson

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