Architecture & Urbanism



Gippsland Performing Arts Centre

Traralgon, VIC

2022



A box of trees

The new Gippsland Performing Arts Centre is the centrepiece of the Latrobe Creative Precinct in the Victorian city of Traralgon. Katsieris Origami are Design Directors for the project having won the architectural competition together with our project partners, Jackson Architecture.

The centre comprises a 750 seat proscenium theatre with full fly-tower, seating stalls, balcony, orchestra pit with lifting platform, below-stage trappable area, scenery storess, performer's facilities, conference and meeting rooms.

A key part of the building's construction utilised local manufacturing skill and capacity in the fabrication and assembly of glue-laminated (Glulam) timber structures; the abstract, tree-like columns that define the main foyer.

The symbolic stand of tree-columns, manufactured from Victorian Ash, recalls the traditional and continuing importance of trees and timber to the region. The stand of tree-columns allude to a lost heritage of heroic timber constructions that the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland once contained. The mountain regions around Traralgon were once dotted with majestic timber trestle bridges, tall viaducts, and steep-incline, winch-tramways constructed of endemic hardwood timbers. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the abundance of these strong, dense Victorian hardwoods, combined with a deep technical knowledge of the material, led to the construction of these impressive but now forgotten structures.

A box of red
In contrast to the field of trees in the foyer, the theatre auditorium is its philosophical other; a direct material and spatial counterpoint. Whereas the foyer is defined by a tight cluster of trees with overlapping branches seemingly splintering the upper foyer volume, the auditorium space is a singular, open, free-span volume.
The warm, timber tones of the foyer are vividly contrasted by the striking colour of the auditorium. The auditrium’s scale and rich, earth-red finishes raise the intensity of the thetrical experience.
Wrap-around, undulating perimeter walls and reflector panels suspended from its ceiling, all finished in the same intense red hue, create an immersive effect on entry.
The creased perimeter walls and folded ceiling panels assist the acoustics. They create differently angled hard and soft surfaces allowing sound produced on-stage to better reflect and refract throughout the audience area.

Latrobe Creative Precinct
The design of the wider site areas also involved adapting exising buidings around the site to contribute to the formation of a coherent new creative precinct. Exterior sections of the existing buildings were altered to work in tandem with the new performing arts centre and delineate a series of new, multi-use external areas. These are open public spaces suitable for many civic uses including open-air concerts, small-scale performances, art-happenings, festivals, markets, exhibitions, out-door community events, open-air cinema and everyday, passive recreation space.

Architecture can achieve so much more than the fact of its own presence. We hope that in some way, the design of this project heralds an emerging, sustainable mass-timber fabrication expertise and capacity  in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and Gippsland regions.


Traditional and Continuing Land
Gunai / Kurnai Country


Client
Latrobe City Council


Area
4,850 m2 (excluding parking basement)


Levels
4


Status
Builidng complete; exterior public spaces completion due Q2 2022


Project Team
Jackson Architecture & Katsieris Origami:
Architects in Association


Genre
Meta-Modern


Theme
Grove of Trees within Prismatic Volumes


House 4 – Golden Beach Coastal House

Golden Beach, VIC

2021



The alluring romance of the moody eastern Victorian coastline drew our client to purchase this site over twenty years ago.

Situated on a long sand dune and fronting a thick blanket of ti-trees and coastal scrub, the design of this coastal house arose from the site’s environmental and topographic opportunities. Working to a modest construction budget and integrating a variety of mid-century fixtures, fittings, furniture and art works the client had patiently gathered over the years, were further elements to our brief.

From our first visit and survey-notes of the site, we felt the strong coastal winds and the sense of primal, elemental remove of this location. We saw these factors as opportunities for a robust massing with allusions to the rugged, protective coastal dwellings and cabins that originally dotted this remote part of Victoria’s coastline.

The resultant design is a 2-level dwelling with a smaller footprint at ground level than the main upper level. The form and shaping of the upper level massing was designed to capture surrounding coastal scrub views and draw cooling summer breezes into the interior. The two main spaces defining the upper level, a living volume and a bedroom volume, are bisected by a thin stair void that acts as a chamber to a thermal pinwheel. In summer time, cool air emenating from the polished concrete floor slab at ground level is drawn up and through the upper level by a thermal pinwheel effect. Casement window panels and louvred windows are strategically sized and oriented to mobilise the thermal pinwheel by capturing even the lightest of cool breezes and maximise the draw of cross-ventilation.

The site is within a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rated area of 29. External façade materials, roofing systems and details were chosen and developed to accord to BAL-29 requirmements.
As a cost-saving measure, the structure of the house minimises the use of steel. The resultant braced plywood, box-beam structural system allowed the maximum possible, structurally-strong enclosure at the lowest possible construction cost.
Finishes throughout are simple and durable, in keeping with the client’s requirements for honest, ‘no-bull’, direct materiality and the equally robust, ‘no-bull’ nature of the location.


Traditional and Coninuing Land Bidewell, Yuin Gunnaikurnai & Moneo (Ngarig) Country

Client
Private


Area
145.0 m2


Levels
2


Status
Complete (Images taken during construction)


Genre
Meta-Modern


Themes
Enviromentally driven volumetric interplay / Victorian south coast ‘soft-brutalism’ 

House 1: Blue Cave, White Nest

Toronto House, Flinders Lane MELB

2013


In an ever-evolving technological world, one’s focus and engagement is increasingly concerned with the virtual. In my view, the very physicality and presence of architecture provides a useful stabilising anchor as a countermeasure to the virtual realm.

This design seeks to express this and transcend the restrictions of scale, program and budget. The project uses a modest client brief; add two bedrooms with en-suite to an existing linear apartment loft volume, and create a new space that provides a spiritual anchoring for a much travelled family with teenage children.

Ideas of permanence, anchoring and gravitas became important factors in our design thinking.

Blue Cave - A curvilinear vessel of space, the blue cave, finished in a fine, haze-blue venetian plaster coating, houses the two bedrooms, defining them as quiet personal retreats. Light falls into them through the formed spouts on the caves.

White Nest - The linear white storage wall, the white nest, glossily white and sleek, houses multiple functions: office, ‘garage’, storage, reading niche, bar niche. It also houses a small army of seating and storage mobiles that are used to create informal flexible seating when required.


Client
Private


Area
375 m2


Levels
1


Status
Complete


Genre
Meta-Modern


Theme
Anchoring / Formal Dissonance


Award
House Magazine Award:
Finalist; Best Apartment, Unit, or Townhouse (2013)


ACT Supreme Court Redevelopment


Canberra, ACT

2015


The ACT Supreme Court Redevelopment PPP project involved the complete redevelopment of the existing Supreme Court building dating from 1962 and the creation of a new ‘wing’ fronting onto Vernon Circle: one of the key urban nodes in Walter Burley Griffin’s esteemed master plan for Canberra.

The design mediated between existing heritage buildings and areas of national importance with the creation of contemporary courts facilities including 6 new court rooms, judicial accommodation, juror facilities, courts registry, courts public spaces and secure holding areas.

The resultant new wing of the ACT Supreme Court was a 5-level structure following the radial nature of Vernon Circle and further reinforcing this important urban pattern. The radial geometry also increased façade perimeter which in turn maximised the degree of natural light and view to all court rooms.


Client
Capital Courts Consortium


Area
9 000 m2


Levels
5


Status
Project (Public Private Partnership)


Genre
Modern Rationalism / Heritage Adaption

Theme
Axial Alignments / Civic Translations


Project Team
Bates Smart & Katsieris Orgiami:
Architects in Association


St Mary's College St Kilda Campus Master Plan

St Kilda, VIC

2018 +



In 2021, St Mary’s Girls College merged with CBC St Kilda to became a new, co-educational college renamed St Mary’s College. The former CBC St Kilda, was founded in 1878 and had been providing education for 138 years. 

Katsieris Origami were engaged by the college to develop transformative and visionary Master Plans for both the St Kilda East and Balaclava Campuses.

The existing campuses were modified countless times over the decades and spanned the full gamut of differing architectural styles dating back to the original historic buildings constructed in 1878. The Master Plan project involved developing a detailed understanding of the existing multi-level campuses which included a variety of historic buildings, mid-century brutalist buildings, newer structures, disaggregated open spaces and adjacent public realm.

Our work undertook a detailed analysis of the existing uses and circulation patterns of both college campuses. We spent time in classrooms observing firsthand the limitations that outmoded existing learning spaces imposed on the delivery of contemporary teaching. Our Master Plan proposed the strategic removal of existing built fabric to be replaced with an incremental enlargement and rebuilding of specific buildings and spaces. We likened our work to architectural acupuncture; the precise targeting and unlocking of specific points within the campus that were causing significant blockage to the flow of learning.
 
Our Master Plan re-envisioned the campuses of the near future. They would be transformed from campuses of single-purpose buildings; long corridors with endless rows of identical, cellular classrooms into wider, more flexible, engaging learning environments for the college community.



Client
St Mary’s College (Formerly CBC St Kilda)


Area
11,000 m2


Levels
4


Status
Current


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Architecture & Urbanism