University of Melbourne Magazine

Opening the Southbank campus to Melbourne

  • The Southbank campus of the Faculty of VCA and MCM is undergoing a level of development not experienced before in the history of the institution.

    Announced in March 2014, a project worth more than $40 million will finally redevelop the Victorian Police Mounted Stables on Dodds St into a new visual arts wing at the VCA.

    The project will include the renovation of the Police Stables for use as new visual art studios and open up a new entry point to the campus from Dodds St.

    The project is supported by the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne, the Faculty and philanthropic bodies including the Myer Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation and Martyn and Louise Myer.

    Also celebrated in March was the opening of the refurbished Grant St Theatre and the dedication of the new Lounge, named for the Faculty’s benefactor Lionel Gell whose generous support has made a public program of events in the new venue a reality.

    Both of these capital projects along with the planned public programming in Grant St Theatre and the Lionel Gell Lounge will bring the community onto the campus and into the artistic life of our Faculty, as well as provide improved facilities for the Faculty’s students.

    The redevelopment of the Southbank campus is an important part of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint.

    The blueprint, released in February 2014, aims to build on the planning and development of Southbank during the past 30 years to create a vibrant and more connected arts precinct.

    Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said the redevelopment would transform the VCA and MCM campus in Southbank into an exciting destination for arts and cultural activity.

    “The redevelopment project, the largest in the history of the VCA, will create public performance, event and exhibition spaces across the campus and surrounding streets, as well as a series of laneways, public thoroughfares and gardens,” Dr Napthine said.

    “The VCA campus sits among some of Victoria’s pre-eminent arts institutions. This project will not only ensure that the VCA maintains its high standards in arts training and research, it will open up the campus to the wider community.”

    The opening of the new visual art studios in the former police stables will create space on the Southbank campus for the planned Melbourne Conservatorium of Music building.

    Professor Barry Conyngham, Dean of the VCA and MCM said: “This is a three stage process for the Faculty, the first is moving the horses, the second is the redevelopment of the stables into new art studios by 2016 and the final stage is the building of the new Conservatorium Building at Southbank.

    “Incorporating the Conservatorium Building into the Southbank campus will mean a unified Faculty positioned in the Melbourne Arts Precinct alongside the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Hamer Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre.”