After almost half a century of serving Monash University and the local community, the iconic Alexander Theatre will undergo a restoration project that will take the building into the 21st century.
A significant part of Monash University for over 49 years, the Alexander Theatre has a unique design with a block-like edifice and gently sloping walls tapering into the sky. Originally designed by architects Eggleston, MacDonald & Seacomb, the theatre has been a crucible for the avant-garde theatre scene.
The new development will incorporate two new performance spaces and state-of-the-art facilities. The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts will be a $45-million development boasting the rebuilt Alexander Theatre, a 130-seat Sound Gallery and a 200-seat Jazz Club. The project has been made possible thanks to a donation of $5 million from the Ian Potter Foundation and another $10 million from the Victorian Government.
The proposed redevelopment will include a 130-seat Sound Gallery and a 200-seat Jazz Club
The new design by Peter Elliott Architecture reportedly follows the original vision for the Alexander Theatre that couldn’t be realised due to a lack of funds. Architect Jocelyn Chiew, Monash University’s Manager of Campus Design, Quality and Planning describes the new design as a restoration of the original vision, with change rooms, storage areas and unloading areas to be added in the modern 21st century version.
Some of the more modern elements in the restored theatre include high-tech glass-reinforced concrete tiles in pale ceramic finish as cladding on the exterior of the building; a proper foyer that encourages patrons to mingle before and after performances; a stage that can be raised and lowered; an orchestra pit that can be covered when not needed; enhanced accessibility for wheelchairs; and a fully programmable acoustic system for the new performing arts complex.
Paul Grabowsky, Executive Director of the Monash Academy of Performing Arts, is very excited about the digital approach to sound in the new theatre based on a process known as ‘activated architecture’, wherein the touch of an iPad screen will transform acoustic energy, enabling optimum sound quality regardless of whether it’s a play, chamber concert or jazz ensemble.
Scheduled to open at the end of 2018, the new MAPA cultural precinct will be an Australian first, bringing high-impact technology to spaces visited by 250,000 patrons and performers each year.
This article was originally titled 'Monash Uni's iconic Alexander Theatre to be demolished'.
The title has since been amended to correctly reflect the design and intention of the project.
Monash has no intent to demolish the Alexander Theatre and is in fact investing significantly in its restoration and revitalisation.
Architecture & Design sincerely apologises for the mistake.