MADELEINE CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS
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CAROLINE CHISHOLM COLLEGE


status: in progress - construction to commence late 2016

LOCATION: BRAYBROOK, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA


"The pianola - a piano equipped to be played automatically using a piano roll".

the pianola roll music of "SINGING IN THE RAIN" is translated into the form of a continuous upper level timber screen to create, a layered banding of rich visual language, transparency and embedded meaning".


The proposed new Madeleine Centre is derived from a series of key architectural responses that relate directly to site, context and culture of place. The use of brick in conjunction with a small domed space – although more visually successful from the exterior, was a nice visual design feature of the existing building. The new building features an elevation facing a small street to be created in brick to celebrate the materiality of the existing building. A large atrium space ‘cut’ into the new footprint celebrates and acknowledges the dome structure within the existing building.

The new enlarged footprint over two-storeys shares the school`s creative programs. The new building is seen as a creative ‘hub’ offering opportunities for collaboration and inspiration from a variety of creative mediums. The facility will host drama & dance, music,  studio & visual arts and will be flexible enough to also cater for large gatherings & performances. 

The formalisation of the building starts with an enlarged footprint to cater for the increase of program. A glass threshold creates a ‘light’ direct link and formal relationship to the existing adjacent buildings.
The ‘front’ of the building facing the oval is then cut from the volume to create a direct visual link or ‘stage’  orientated towards the oval. The upper level is then pushed out over the top to create a ‘big verandah’ . This not only responds directly to the wider surrounding, suburban context but also creates a weather-protected, given the solar orientation [west orientation] area into lower performance spaces.

A large central ‘cut’ is made to the volume to bring the existing courtyard into the building.  As a result this incision creates an indoor/outdoor performance space linked over two-levels via a large atrium space. The upper level floorplate is then extended in two small areas to create specific visual links to the schools main entry and to the nearby Churchill Ave streetscape.

The ‘street’ elevation facing a small suburban thoroughfare, Margaret Cresent is fragmented to create links in and out of the building, enhancing the dialogue between the building, main central courtyard and the Margaret Cresent streetscape. 

The internal arrangement of spaces is curated around the idea of audience and performance mirroring one another. For example, practice spaces have been orientated around the perimeter of the main performance spaces. Practice spaces will be flexible enough that they could be opened up to create smaller performance spaces where the larger performance space intern becomes the audience space. This idea also applies for the internal, external relationships between the building itself, the ovals and the surrounding neighbourhood.

Opportunities for collaboration and social interaction are realised through programmatic adjacencies and flexibility of spaces.

Primary building materials proposed are brick, glass & timber – responding the surrounding largely brick suburban context. 

Salvaged bricks from the existing building are to be used in landscape seating and treatments. 

The central external courtyard is to undergo a large overhaul. Soft plantings in contrast with timber and concrete elements will be used to create a series of flexible external viewing and performance spaces.
The external courtyard will also be used to create a previously unrealised link with an existing Chapel to the front of the campus. This operable link will also help to realise and provide engagement between the school and local community. There may be time where the facility could be opened up to provide community gatherings, performances, masses and the like.