William Macmahon Ball Theatre, Faculty of Arts

William Macmahon Ball Theatre, Faculty of Arts

Within the University of Melbourne’s heritage listed Old Arts building, the William Macmahon Ball Theatre is a 75 seat teaching space, primarily designed to support graduate coursework in the Faculty of Arts’ Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Melbourne School of Government.

Offering students an engaging, memorable and interactive learning experience, the Theatre delivers a unique space that directly supports the University’s commitment to safeguard and promote the physical campus as the primary learning environment – within the context of online resource saturation. With an intentional design character that is ‘parliamentary’, yet relaxed and informal, the Theatre supports holistic, shared and studentled learning approaches. Sightlines and seating, within the hemicycle plan, induce high levels of interaction and visual connectedness – encouraging discussion, collaboration, debate and oration. Speakers move and engage freely, with full control of AV systems.

Offering multiple, dynamic opportunities for spoken, written, projected or graphic communication, the generally subdued colour palette, with coordinated finishes, supports a range of interactive teaching and learning modes. Joinery includes discreet, adjustable benches and lecterns that meet disability requirements with design equivalency. Sustainability is underpinned by adjustable natural daylight, low energy lights, plantation plywood, displacement air handling via floor levels and durable materials.

The undulating, glowing ceiling – formed by triangulated planes suspended below stretched acoustic fabric – defines and lights the Theatre space, distributing sound evenly to all occupants. An original skylight delivers natural light at the centre – intensifying the dramatic, layered ceiling plane and visually connecting the occupants of teaching spaces above. Floor finishes reference the triangulated ceiling pattern – the sandstone centre recalls the building’s historic fabric. Lined with dense carpet, three vestibules provide discreet, but distinctive, spatial and acoustic thresholds to the space.

Project Sheet

Project Summary

Client
Graduate School of Social Science, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
Location
Melbourne
Floor area
250 m²
Completed
December 2013
Original value
N/A
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