I didn't expect to be writing about a momentous project in the municipality I spent my Secondary School days and most weekends, however this is most certainly warranted. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when perusing our forum and in particular a thread created by Urban Melbourne member Fedsquared featuring the new Casey Cultural Precinct.
After a 6 month design competition with finalists including Ashton Raggatt McDougall, DCM and John Wardle, City of Casey have selected the winning design for the Casey Cultural Precinct. Conceived by fjmt (Frances-Jones Morehen Thorp), the cultural hub will encapsulate an 800 seat theatre, gallery and community spaces. Further, the new centre will also function as a Library and Civic Centre replacing the existing buildings located just to the north of the site.
Further to the aforementioned features of the project, the Cultural Precinct will also host a plaza, pictured at top, whilst also acting as a regional schools centre for the arts.
Sourcing City of Casey Mayor Geoff Ablett via a media release,
‘The winning design is striking, engaging and functional and will ensure the Casey Cultural Precinct will be an inviting central heart for the community that celebrates participation, belonging and civic pride.‘The design rises from the landscape and integrates with the surrounding environment, while the iconic roof which resembles soaring eagle wings, reaches out to create an interactive meeting space for the community.‘The building incorporates a blend of materials, including an impressive metal and timber roof, contemporary curved glass facade and a warm timber interior.‘The performing arts centre, regional art gallery, multi-purpose exhibition space, library and Civic Centre are easily accessed on the ground level through a common foyer which welcomes visitors to the precinct.‘Outdoor pathways meander through the precinct, drawing visitors to the central community plaza where people will be able to celebrate, collaborate and connect.‘The design is a fantastic outcome for the community and will be a welcoming place for everyone to come together when it opens in 2017’.
First thought to cross my mind when viewing the foyer images...drawing inspiration from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
The new Cultural and Civic Centre is reportedly set to open in 2017 and is to be financed by the council itself owing to 'Many years of responsible financial management...Council can finance the Casey Cultural Precinct without an increase to rates". The Council's own FAQ page states a combination of savings, a small loan and external funding will combine to finance the $125 million dollar project.
Given a State election is due in November it might not come as a surprise to anyone that both the Government and Opposition may just pledge cash to the precinct given that, according to ABC election guru Antony Green's analysis, both the Narre Warren North and Narre Warren South seats sit on margins of 4.8% and 7.4% after the final redistribution of seat boundaries.