University of Newcastle architecture student Samantha Bailey’s design has been chosen for a $2 million multi-arts space in Lake Macquarie. 


Bailey’s design for the Speers Point Park facility was chosen from a pool of other architecture students

The brief for the students was to design a visually stunning building that pushed the boundaries of exhibiting art and staging cultural events. 

“We wanted a building that would become a landmark for our city, a talking point for the community and most importantly a state of the art space to showcase our arts and culture,” says Lake Macquarie mayor, Cr Kay Fraser. 

“Samantha Bailey’s design ticked those boxes. Her entry had the most potential to be developed as a significant cultural and arts space for Lake Macquarie. It stood out for its creativity, its thorough understanding of the brief and its potential relationship to the surrounding landscape.”

Bailey says her intention was to create a flexible arts space that made the most of its spectacular location.

“I wanted to emphasise the beauty of the site, and to create a building that will make people see the lake in a different light.”

The multi-arts space will be capable of showcasing a range of visual and performing arts, from dance, theatre and multi-media installations to immersive virtual reality exhibitions.

University of Newcastle head of architecture Chris Tucker was impressed by the standard of conceptual approaches from the undergraduate students.

“The 90 students who participated in the project thoroughly enjoyed exploring the possible ways a multi-arts space might take shape in Lake Macquarie,” says Tucker. 

“The diverse range of proposals shows just how differently students understand the relationship between art, architecture and landscape.”

Lake Macquarie City Council manager cultural services Jacqui Hemsley says the building, at the western end of the Speers Point Park promenade, will also include a commercial kitchen to broaden its potential use for catered functions and events.

“This new facility will activate Speers Point Park by day and night. It will help establish northern Lake Macquarie as one of the region’s major cultural destinations, with the potential to attract national and international artists and exhibitions,” says Hemsley.

A development application will be lodged next year, with the facility expected to open in 2020.