Setting the scene Albany Entertainment Centre by Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland

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Albany Entertainment Centre by Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland
Story by: Mary Webb
View of the exterior of the Albany Entertainment architecture, house, roof, sky, gray, blue
View of the exterior of the Albany Entertainment Center by Coz Howlett & Bailey Woodland. Design Director Steve Woodland. Connects the city to the harbor. Allows in natural light. Triangulated exterior is simple and highly durable.

In the past, the possibilities of waterfront areas close to cities have often been overlooked, with these zones instead dominated by trade, freight and other commercial activities.

Albany, Western Australia, was no exception. The city sat back from its harbour, with little to connect the two and with few amenities available to the encourage the public to come down to this area. When Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland took on the project to build a new entertainment centre for the city, the architectural team saw potential in the waterfront area.

Design director Steve Woodland says the Albany Entertainment Centre is the beginning of a major development to realign the town more closely with its harbour frontage.

"With this complex, for the first time the city is reaching out to the harbour, and the theatre is the focal point for reuniting the two sectors. This project carries with it a responsibility for bringing people to the water's edge, and a lot of planning has gone into creating a public domain," he says.


View of the interior/exterior/floor-plan of the Albany Entertainment angle, architecture, area, black and white, design, diagram, elevation, line, naval architecture, product design, roof, shed, structure, triangle, white
View of the interior/exterior/floor-plan of the Albany Entertainment Center by Coz Howlett & Bailey Woodland. Design Director Steve Woodland. Connects the city to the harbor. Allows in natural light. Triangulated exterior is simple and highly durable.

"On such a beautiful site, the visual character of the building is particularly important. It can be seen from all around the harbour and from the town."

This rationale led Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland to design a building with a highly sculptural form that avoids the notions of roof and walls.

Instead, these elements are blurred together, and the result is a complex three-dimensional object with a triangulated shape that looks different from every angle.

"And, because the centre is so visible from the harbour, we wanted to create an undulating form that relates to the undulations of the land behind the town. The folded shape of the building is designed to loosely follow the silhouette of the local topography," says Woodland.

View of the floor-plan of the Albany Entertainment angle, architecture, area, black and white, design, diagram, drawing, font, line, line art, monochrome, plan, product design, structure, white
View of the floor-plan of the Albany Entertainment Center by Coz Howlett & Bailey Woodland. Design Director Steve Woodland. Connects the city to the harbor. Allows in natural light. Triangulated exterior is simple and highly durable.

The architecture of the building also had to engage as much as possible with the harbour and the area around it. Giving the building a transparent cladding over an open, sculptural form allows large amounts of natural light to filter into the public domain of the complex. These spaces wrap around the central fly tower which contains the main auditorium so visitors to the centre can enjoy views of the harbour.

There is a dramatic change of mood from the transparent public spaces to the main auditorium, with bright, lush colours creating a highly theatrical environment to heighten the experience of visitors.

A second multipurpose space that can be used for functions, contemporary theatre and workshops ensures the entertainment centre is patronised on a daily basis.

Oct 12, 2011

Credit list

Building owner
Department of Treasury and Finance Building Management and Works
Interior design
Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland
Construction
Doric Contractors
Mechanical and electrical engineer
Aecom
Landscaping
Hames Sharley
Cladding, facade design and construction
VM Zinc
Exterior paving
Brikmakers
Wallcovering
Timber acoustic walls from
Ceiling
Plasterboard
Public area furniture
Schamburg + Alvisse
Theatre seating
Hadley Australia; Trevira Supreme upholstery
Signage
Varisigns
Architect
Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland, in association with Roberts Gardiner
Theatre consultant for Government of WA
Graham Walne
Civil engineer
Aurecon
Quantity surveyor
Davis Langdon
Acoustics
Marshall Day Acoustics
Glazing system
High-performance tinted glass
Interior flooring
Godfrey Hirst Carpets; Bernini Granite
Paints
Dulux; Taubmans
Veneers
Blackbutt
Public space lighting
LEDs, compact fluorescents,
Theatre lighting
Stagecraft
Lift services
Octagon-BKG
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