A new four-storey civic centre designed by Melbourne-based architectural and urban design practice Lyons is at the heart of the $71.1-million Devonport Living City Stage 1 project in Tasmania.

Lyons has developed a response to the master plan (authored by Hames Sharley) and led the design of the largest urban renewal project in regional Tasmania’s history.


Delivering on the vision of the Devonport City Council to enliven and enrich the city’s social, cultural and economic heart, Lyon designed the Paranaple Centre comprising of a four-storey civic building and a three-storey carpark to accommodate more than 500 vehicles.

Lyons also collaborated with Maddison Architects to design a new market hall called Providore Place, and with ASPECT Studios on the project’s central Market Square. The Birrelli-designed regional art gallery rounds up this stage of the urban renewal project.

The Lyons-designed Paranaple Centre is a multipurpose facility housing a library, convention centre and Government offices that allow Devonport locals to access State and Local Government services under one roof.

Lyons director in charge and design leader Neil Appleton explained the importance of the integrated design for the Devonport community.

“Our design positions the library within close proximity of those Government service providers, enabling the recipients of those services to – quite literally – have a seamless pathway to vital Library Services including literacy programs.”

Thanks to Lyons’ design, library membership is already up by more than 120 percent over 2017-2018 numbers.

The two-level library features large expanses of clear glass to visually connect with neighbouring historic buildings and the Devonport waterfront as well as create light-filled interiors. The design also allows side-by-side consultation between librarians and customers, and provides for designated areas for children, teens and senior citizens.

A convention centre on the top floor of the Paranaple Centre can accommodate up to 1,000 attendees for large events. Lyons minimised the number of columns and maximised the ceiling height to allow guests expansive views out to the Mersey River.

Extensive acoustic engineering prevents sound transmission from the event space into the Council offices below. The massive area can also be flexibly reconfigured into three smaller convention rooms for smaller functions. Devonport’s new venue is already drawing the attention of many mainland conference convenors.

Providore Place, the contemporary 2500sqm market hall takes design inspiration from an ancient, mobile light source. Appleton explains: “The building is designed like an enormous lantern that allows natural light in through a polycarbonate roof structure.” The resulting daylight flooding the market hall allows fresh produce to be showcased well.

Features such as large glazed doors and roller shutters in the new market hall create a flexible space that can either be left open to the elements in fine weather or enclosed and protected against inclement conditions.

Devonport City Council deputy general manager Matthew Atkins, who is helming the urban renewal project, acknowledges the remarkable synergy between Lyons and Devonport.

“As a Council, it’s wonderful to see our own enthusiasm mirrored in our consultants,” Atkins said. “Lyons understood the potential and power of this new precinct to unite, empower and excite Devonport’s residents and tourists alike. Thanks to the ingenuity and prowess of Lyons, we now have a place to gather, work and recreate that not only fills us with pride but also looks set to boost our economy and identity too.”

Lyons is currently working on the design of Devonport Living City Stage 2, which will include a waterfront park and hotel.

Photographer: Peter Bennetts