The transformation of Bendigo's Gaol to Ulumbarra Theatre has been an exciting and unique adventure. The design draws on the prison's heritage and inverts its relationship with the community. To the north, the new pubic face of the centre addresses Gaol Road; inviting visitors through a break in the old gaol wall. The Theatre's fly tower and contemporary facilities are deliberately located to rear of the site, drawing patrons through the heart of the former prison. This journey leads to central hall connecting Ulumbarra's old and new spaces. The Gaol's radiating Pentoville plan becomes apparent when viewing the addition of the black box hospitality wing to the south. This space plays on theatre conventions with a Black Box Theatre housed elsewhere in a white box.
The design encourages exploration of the site's heritage with elements of the new lightly touching the old. Frequently patrons are given new incites; from windows that frame old guard towers to reflections of the gaol viewed in the glazing of courtyards.
Ulumbarra's plan allows for various occupants to work simultaneously either as independent users or in collaboration. The inclusion of the Hospitality and Arts programs allows students to actively engage with a larger audience and create industry pathways.
The Ulumbarra Theatre provides an enriched public asset that intrinsically values both Bendigo's history and its future.
Australian Institute of Architecture Awards 2017:
Victorian Chapter Awards - Shortlist - Regional Architecture
Association For Learning Environments:
Australasian Awards 2016
- Best Refurbishment/Modernisation Project >$2M
- People’s Choice Award
Australian Property Institute Awards 2016:
- Heritage Property Award - Winner