The new Ian Potter Southbank Centre, home to the new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, has officially opened its doors to more than 1,000 existing staff and students. Sitting within Melbourne’s Arts Precinct, the $109 million Conservatorium is at the heart of the University of Melbourne’s $200 million Southbank campus redevelopment.
Rendering of the Ian Potter Southbank Centre. Photo © John Wardle Architects
“With a student cohort that has increased by two-thirds since 2010, the new Conservatorium will allow us to teach, rehearse, perform and record like never before,” said Faculty of Fine Arts and Music Dean Barry Conyngham. “Currently, the Faculty has over 40,000 campus visitors a year and hosts more than 220 events, which will now be expanded with a public program of events at the Conservatorium that will enrich Melbourne’s thriving cultural scene.”
“The new Conservatorium will allow the University to build on our already strong partnerships in the Arts Precinct and connect our world-class teaching and research to many more partners in the future,” said Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell.
Hanson Dyer Hall in The Ian Potter Southbank Centre. Photo © Trevor Mein
Boasting world-leading acoustic spaces, the Conservatorium also features multiple rehearsal spaces, small studios, a flexible performance and rehearsal venue designed for professional recording capability, a 400-seat performance space, student hub and performance space foyer and informal study and meeting spaces. It can also lay claim to one of the world’s largest oculus windows, six metres in diameter. The Conservatorium is also now able to integrate over 1,000 enrolled music students and 6,600 students from other faculties across two campuses.
The Conservatorium was designed by John Wardle Architects and constructed by Lendlease, with acoustic spaces designed by Marshall Day.
One of the major funders whose significant donation helped make the new Conservatorium possible was President of the Myer Foundation, Martyn Myer. “I’m so proud of this beautiful building,” said Myer. “It is a wonderful example of how philanthropy can support the creation of valuable infrastructure, and in this case, provide world-class learning experiences for students and staff.”
Prudence Myer Studio in The Ian Potter Southbank Centre. Photo © Trevor Mein
The Ian Potter Southbank Centre was named in recognition of The Ian Potter Foundation, which has made donations totalling $14 million towards the Southbank campus transformation. It was also funded by the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and philanthropic support.
The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music is recognised as Australia’s first music education institution.