Project completed: 2021 / Builder: Smith Constructions
The Albany Town Hall is highly valued by the community for its long and continued role as the principal building associated with cultural and administrative activities in the town. Completed in 1888, the original building has aesthetic value as a good example of a Victorian Free Classical building. It has landmark qualities with the clocktower being highly visible along York Street.
Undertaken in Association with specialist heritage practice Griffiths Architects, the repurposing project aims to promote broader community use by moving away from its current specialised theatre arrangement and returning to a broad multi-purpose community use – the city’s number one space. The project aims to build capacity for new uses, bringing outdated facilities up to current standards whilst conserving and enhancing the significance of the building.
The design approach is to allow the heritage place to be conserved and changed to the extent required, and to make new or modern structures such as the 1980’s additions at the rear do ‘the heavy lifting’. This approach allows the new requirements to meet current standards and takes the pressure away from the heritage fabric and spaces. These functions are also subject to the most change and so accommodating them in this way allows them to be upgraded periodically without further damage to the heritage place.
Stage One of the design includes the repurposing of the main raked floor auditorium into a flexible flat floor venue. This re-creates the historic volume enabling an adaptable space for a variety of uses. The existing ground floor is upgraded to more flexible and higher standard gallery space. Stage One has been designed to enable the possibility of a future addition to the north which would increase the connectivity of the Hall with the Town Square.