Goulburn Performing Arts Centre (GPAC)

Brewster Hjorth Architects

Goulburn (1833) was Australia’s first inland City, about 200km from Sydney. The GPAC project provides the city’s first purpose designed theatre. It is located on the very tight historic site behind the 1887 Town Hall on the main street.

The site has been home to the colony’s first inland gaol, fire brigade, and later the first Town Hall. It was the site of convicted bushranger hangings (and burials). The small, complex “landlocked” site was brimming with archeology and the Client’s requirement to integrate the historic Town Hall into the scheme presented many challenges. The design involved extensive archeological investigations, it includes a comprehensive heritage response with the preservation of important historic fabric and interpretive representations of heritage buildings which were removed. The design includes a unique relationship between the stage and the auditorium to reduce the overall building dimensions and improve accessibility. The limitations of the narrow foyer are overcome by integrating the old Chamber as additional public space through new arched openings. The fire exits from the auditorium are achieved by a new lattice walkway suspended over the sensitive archeology The old Council Chamber has been converted to the building’s main Public Space, opening onto the new Entry Foyer. Internal walls inserted into the grand Chamber in the 1930s have been removed, and the space has been restored to its original proportions, revealing its beautiful diagonal boarded cedar ceiling which has been used as the inspiration for the diagonal lined motif of the new buildings signage and screens