Hassell and US architects SO-IL are designing the public realm that will make up the precinct’s public meeting spaces, whereas NH Architecture and Norway’s Snøhetta will revitalise the arts precinct’s theatres.

Hassell and SO-IL announced in February last year to design the 18,000sqm of renewed pedestrian space is aimed to better connect the precinct’s array of prestigious cultural institutions.

The design offers elevated pedestrian and garden areas, event spaces, restaurants and bars, with improve enmity for local residents and works, alongside seamless connection from St Kilda Road to Sturt street and its surrounding cultural institutions.

The design will focus on a ‘goal zero’ target, having zero operational energy, operational water, waste-to-landfill and emissions as sustainable features.

NH Architecture and Snøhetta will focus on the precinct’s Theatres Building, which houses the State Theatre, Playhouse and Fairfax Studio.

The major upgrade will be the first since its inception in 1984. While respecting its original heritage architecture of Sir Roy Grounds, the upgrades will provide new seating, aisles and wayfinding, and more inclusive and equitable access for visitors.

The upgrade will also expand upon the building’s rehearsal and dressing rooms, flying system for the State Theatre and Playhouse, live-theatre broadcast capability and safer, flexible staging and technology.

Amidst the internal and external infrastructural redevelopments, the theatre’s program will expand anticipating a more ‘inclusive theatre’.

Public realm design director of Hassell, Jon Hazelwood says, ‘This is an opportunity that can only be realised when the masterplan brings all aspects of the site together–past, present and future–under one strong and connected vision.’