John Wardle Architects has been appointed to the design of a major new government headquarters in Victoria. The anticipated Ballarat GovHub building will be complemented with the refurbishment of the current 1956-built Civic Hall, with which it will share a block.
Altogether, the proposed government project has been estimated at a cost of $47.8 million. Plans for the civic hub around the site have been tentatively discussed for 15 years, since the Civic Hall was closed in 2002. In 2014, the City of Ballarat council suggested the complete demolition of Civic Hall, designed by local practice Cowper, Murphy and Appleford. This demolition plan was met with fierce community opposition, and eventually ditched in its original proposed form (although the lower hall is still a potential target for demolition). In June 2017, the City of Ballarat awarded Baumgart Clark Architects the upgrade of main hall within the building, which will form part of the broader precinct redevelopment project.
The proposed John Wardle-designed building will sit in close range to the existing hall. Working with Baumgart Clark Architects, the new building will be integrated with the wider block in the hopes of fashioning a broader civic precinct.
At this early stage, designs have yet to be released by John Wardle Architects, although community consultation has been slated for 2 December 2017. A&D will provide updates as they come.