Hobart, New South Wales, Australia
“The fabric of the building externally provides interpretative layers of the past re-presented through a contemporary lens, highlighting the story-telling potential of the building,” said Liminal Architecture co-founder Peta Heffernan.
Designed by Liminal Architecture and WOHA in a unique collaboration between the University of Tasmania, the Australian and Tasmanian governments, and the Theatre Royal, the design strategy for The Hedgreg balances the theatrics of the building’s purpose with sensitivity to its context.
Physical and virtual portals explore the interconnectivity of place, people and new technologies.
Located in the heart of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, The Hedberg vision is to present a culturally significant performing and creative arts destination that fuels Tasmania’s cultural offering in a global and contemporary context.
In 2013, Liminal with WOHA was awarded the project to deliver this culturally significant building.
Co-located with Australia’s oldest and continuously operating theatre, the historic Theatre Royal, this development includes a thriving music and performance hub, world-class performance venues, a new home for the Conservatorium of Music, creative workshop laboratories, integration of the two-store Hedberg Garage and for the first time, accessibility to all levels of the Theatre Royal and cutting-edge technologies facilitating local and global exchange.
In the site’s evolution, the Hedberg development adds a contemporary layer that reinterprets the past and ensures the heritage buildings that abut and exist on the site, experience longevity through adaptive reuse.
The heritage strategy interweaves interpretive layers into the built fabric, creates a deepened understanding of the place, and enables a response that continues to contribute to the evolution of the site through conservation, reuse, interpretation, and revelation.
“We wanted The Hedgerg to feel more like a cluster of buildings on the city block, than a huge performing arts building that overwhelms the modest-scale heritage structures,” added WOHA co-founder Richard Hassell.
“As part of the heritage strategy, we used materials that are modern but harmonize with the stucco, sandstone, and brick of the historical buildings.”
Material selection and building form address the context of the site as well as evoke a sense of the activities that take place within.
One such example is the use of glass to both connect and separate the new with the old and integrating the front section of the heritage Hedberg Garage.
One such example is the use of glass to both connect and separate the new with the old and to integrate the front section of the heritage Hedberg Garage.
Another example is the external skin of the building, which evokes a shimmering and sparkling theatrical curtain being pulled open to reveal the warmth of activities within.
The story of place and interconnectivity is continued at a smaller scale with design elements inspired by Eduardo Chillida’s interlocking sculptures and the minimalist and dancing forms found in musical notation.
Connections beyond the site’s colonial heritage acknowledge the traditional landowners, the palawa people through the foyer carpet design and exterior cladding reminiscent of the Tasmanian abalone shell.
The development boosts Tasmania’s cultural sector by enabling new creative interdisciplinary education and research and a thriving music and performance hub while incorporating cutting-edge technologies facilitating local and global exchange.
Conceived as an “incubator for place-based creative practice,” The Hedberg addresses the Theatre Royal’s aspirations, both functionally and conceptually, and highlights the University’s important civic and cultural role.
A generous sequence of foyer spaces and front-of-house facilities connect the old and new buildings, creating a suite of performance venues, rehearsal, and recording spaces in a shared cultural complex.
Co-location with the Theatre Royal achieves sustainability and longevity through the sharing and upgrading of facilities and demonstrates best practice in adaptive reuse.
Project: The Hedberg
Architects: Liminal Architecture and WOHA
Heritage Architects: Forward Consultancy
Urban Designers: Leigh Wolley
Landscape Architects: Inspiring Place
General Contractor: Hansen Yuncken
Developer: Hansen Yuncken
Client: The University of Tasmania
Photographers: Natasha Mulhall