St Albans Community Centre

When Brimbank City Council decided to redevelop their Community Centre at St Albans they visualised ‘A place where art can be celebrated, ideas discussed, arts education explored and bold entertainment experienced’. The revitalised facility now offers generous, flexible opportunities for indoor and outdoor gatherings, with active interfaces and multiple spaces to display, perform and celebrate bold creativity.

Accessible and welcoming, the Centre is a genuine community place, both multicultural and multigenerational. Located on the western edge of Errington Reserve, the building snugly curves around adjacent sporting grounds and is close to a dedicated youth centre; a proximity which offers tantalising opportunities for sport, arts and youth interests to rub shoulders, share ideas and connect.

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A key focus was to optimise the brief and maximise project potential. The stakeholder engagement process was critical to securing ownership and buy-in of multiple stakeholders and funding organisations. Working to a modest budget, the planning had to work very hard to deliver the desired accommodation schedule while optimising the benefits within shared facilities, multifunctional foyer and existing facilities.

The existing community centre was retained and adapted to meet community expectations of sustainability and economy. Double height void spaces are introduced to improve connectivity and ventilation. The internal structure has been exposed to create thermal mass, while new external cladding and rhythmic structure establish a strong design image for the building.

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The new 200-seat performance venue The Bowery @ STACC, named after flamboyant performance artist Leigh Bowery, has rehearsal space, café and foyer/exhibition area. Additional facilities include flexible multipurpose meeting and function spaces, social enterprise and business community space, arts and crafts studio, IT training room and Maternal and Child and Allied Health consulting suite.

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