Photos: John Gollings
The new MTC Theatre and Melbourne Recital Centre stand side-by-side in Southbank, Melbourne's arts precinct. Both projects were designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall and constructed simultaneously, but each has its own distinct character. The aesthetic of the MTC Theatre was derived from the interior's main theatre and the metal frames backstage that function as scaffolds for performance sets. This involved the imitation of mechanical forms, as well as inspiration from paintings by Al Held, an American modern artist. The ornamental pipework on the exterior is continued into the interior of the foyer. Internally there is a play with three-dimensional pipework and two-dimensional painted pipework on the walls.
The Melbourne Recital Hall's robust concrete exterior form is in contrast with the MTC Theatre. The form of the Melbourne Recital Hall is taken from the idea of the "white polystyrene packing device that, set within a cardboard box, cradles a precious consumer item, such as a computer." Like a packing device, the Melbourne Recital Centre holds something precious - the interior of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall is lined with finely crafted timber. Optimum acoustic conditions are achieved through the variable layered "grain", out of which might coalesce images to amuse concert-goers with wandering eyes.
The sculpted interior of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (MRC), the precious object cradled within the Recital Centre.
The grand stair to the upper-level foyer and Elisabeth Murdoch Hall (MRC) is enlivened by views of the city and puts concert-goers on show.
The moulded forms of the Melbourne Recital Centre entry foyer.
MTC/MRC Theatre and Recital Centre 2009
Architecture Ashton Raggatt McDougall Melbourne
Structural Engineer Bonacci Group
Acoustic and Theatre consultant Arup comprising Arup Acoustics
Theatreplan LLP (theatre plan) Entertech/RTM International (theatre technology)