Leading Australian architectural practice BVN has been appointed by the Coffs Harbour City Council to design the new Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space.

The near-$77m million project has been planned as a cultural precinct in the heart of the city to help transform the CBD into a vibrant destination for both locals and visitors – even beyond business hours.

The precinct will include a modern library and gallery, exhibition space, studios, small events space and a cafe among others.

Following design submissions by Designinc and Lacoste and Stevenson, FJMT, and Dominic Finlay Jones Architects, it was BVN's unique approach to design that will define the new community space.

BVN principal Matthew Blair, who will be leading the project, has a personal connection with the city. Blair grew up in Coffs Harbour and has great knowledge of the town centre and its potential.

“We recognise the opportunities and challenges of the project,” Blair said. “The ability to be a catalyst to re-energise the precinct between Harbour Drive and Coffs Creek; to help make a definable civic heart in the middle of town; to work with an engaged, active community with diverse aspirations and needs; and to compose a large, complex brief of many different types of places into a physical manifestation of the idea and identity of Coffs Harbour.”

Blair will be working alongside BVN principal Kevin O’Brien and a strong, senior team specially created for this project.

“This extraordinary project is built on an idea of civic engagement, community and optimism. We are enthusiastic, curious, skilled and driven to create a superb place for Coffs Harbour and we are excited to work with Coffs Harbour City Council and all stakeholders to make this happen. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to align the community of Coffs Harbour with its urban assets and it’s a great honour and responsibility to be part of this development,” he added.

Picture: Dominic Finlay Jones Architects' concept design for the new Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space.