Dramatic design results with ALUSION panels at Centrepiece, Melbourne Park
NH Architecture chose ALUSION panels to create eye-catching walls in the new Centerpiece conference and events venue in central Melbourne.
Located in Melbourne Park, Centerpiece is a sustainable and flexible event venue within the grounds of Melbourne and the Olympic Parks, balancing functionality and fun to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Spread over three levels, Centerpiece includes a pre-function space, which leads to a Grand Hall (for events, conferences or exhibitions), a state-of-the-art auditorium, broadcast studios and a sleek central logistics hub.
Centerpiece’s design clearly stands out among installations of this type. Working closely with Development Victoria, Melbourne and Olympic Parks, Tennis Australia and Sports and Recreation Victoria, NH Architecture designed a seamless experience for clients, creating a true connection between the external public realm and the interior spaces of functions and entertainment. events.
This linear, outward-facing building takes full advantage of its panoramic aspect towards the city, the Botanical Gardens and the Yarra River. It sits beautifully in the surrounding parkland, drawing texture and material palette from its landscape context.
“We wanted to create a civic building that would fit into the landscape and not scream in the way that a sports venue would, and also to connect with its surrounding context… So we looked at the land around Birrarung Mar, and the idea of layering and layers of earth, and considered the gum trees and silvery greens on site, combining those colors together,” notes Laura Courtney, Architect, NH Architecture.
The unique materials are the hallmark of the place.
“The fact that we tested and used unique materials on this project is a win and sets it apart from other installations of this type – ALUSION wall panels, wood cladding in the reception area and custom rugs – all of these pieces play into a big picture of a truly unique installation that we are so proud of,” remarks Chloe Mikronis, Senior Partner, NH Architecture.
The lobby acts as a pre-functional event space, with a welcoming and dynamic design. A perforated aluminum ceiling panel, powder coated in a champagne colour, creates a starry top, which is paired with an elegant silver wall of ALUSION wall panels, and finished with an earthy orange rug in a pattern that mimics the dappled light of a canopy tree.
At the entrance, ALUSION’s continuous panels are not only eye-catching, but also a robust solution that can withstand a multitude of activities:
“The durability of the product is one of its main wins as it is very forgiving. In this high traffic environment if it gets nicked you won’t notice anything. But we also wanted to have something with an element of elegance , being in a pre-release space. So when we came across ALUSION, we realized that this product would do both of these things. And the idea of testing and exploring a new material that we had only used ‘only once before (at Cannons House) was also very appealing,’ says Laura.
After using ALUSION in the lobby of Cannons House, the building that houses NH Architecture’s studio, and through further testing, detailing and prototype junctions, the team created the perfect solution for the centerpiece.
“At Cannons House, we did an express joint between the panels – there was no trim, it was just a gap. But Melbourne Park is a different scale of space, so we introduced an aluminum corner that sat between each of the panels and at the corner junctions, creating real continuity in terms of edge treatment,” comments Chloe.
And the results are spectacular.
In fact, NH Architecture is so thrilled with ALUSION that they would love to use it again.
“There is definitely potential for further experimentation with the material to use it in different ways. Either powder coating to get a colored version or anodizing the ALUSION to get a slightly different coloring,” explains Astrid Jenkin, director of NH Architecture.
A number of exterior terraces at Centerpiece seal the seamless internal/external connection and make full use of its location. This is a design feature not typical of large event spaces, which traditionally have very deep floor plates and highly internalized programs, adding yet another string to the bow of this unique venue.
“We took great advantage of the design of the building to make the most of its orientation towards the city, the Botanic Gardens and the Yarra River. In doing so, we have created exterior terraces that are part of the feature overlay, which is quite unique for these types of installations as most are internal environments. So we took advantage of the location and the functionality of the growing demand people have for outdoor spaces and to be visually connected to where they are,” says Astrid.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can walk to a major sporting event from the city and, once there, find world-class facilities and features.
Melbourne Park is now the exception.
Although it has always been within walking distance of the city, Centerpiece’s addition to Melbourne Park offers features and facilities far beyond its predecessor, setting benchmarks at every turn. For this, the NH Architecture team should be legitimately proud.
Excitingly, Centerpiece made the shortlist for the 2022 Victorian Architecture Awards for Public Architecture. The winners will be announced on June 17.
Photographer: Dianna Snape