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September 25, 2020

Community & Collaboration: The Victorian Pride Centre – Heart of St Kilda, Melbourne

The Victorian Pride Centre will be the first of its kind in the country, designed to be a new home for many Australian LGBTQI+ organisations as well as a space for the community to come together.

Currently under construction and set to open in late 2020, the building’s unique, bubbly façade reflects its exceptional nature, providing practical and flexible spaces inside to foster a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQI Australians.

In the words of the Pride Centre’s Board Chair Jude Munro, local architecture firms Grant Amon Architects and Brearley Architects and Urbanists have designed ‘a building that our LGBTQI community can be proud of owning, a place of celebration and a safe sanctuary.’ Conceptually, the structure is built around the idea that there are a series of cylinders that cut through the building, giving the Centre its distinctive circular arches on the façades and shaping many of the interior walls. This consistency and sense of flow ties together the urban design of the exterior, the landscaping of the roof terrace, and the interior layout, drawing people inside and incorporating a sense of welcome into the building’s structure.

The design perfectly balances the building’s integration into the St Kilda landscape while forging a new step in the history of the LGBTQI community in Australia. The curves that appear thematically throughout building allude to many iconic locations around the suburb, from the decorative entrance of Luna Park to the waves of the nearby beach. The building was also carefully planned to suit the needs of the streets around it, with a terrace shading the footpath and providing a view of the local shops, as well as a back wall specifically shaped to preserve existing trees. At the same time, the eye-catching circles distinguish the building from the surrounding commercial architecture, reflecting the importance of diversity and marking the building as a loud and proud addition to the streetscape.

In the interior, colourful and adaptable spaces prioritise the needs of those who will use the centre while maintaining the boldness of the exterior. The communal ground floor will be full of multi-purpose rooms – including shared workspaces, a theatre, and a reflection room – with flexible interior plans that can be adjusted to suit the variety of people who will come through the doors. A gallery showcasing LGBTQI art and history will guide visitors towards the heart of the building, an ellipsoid atrium full of fluid lines and bright sunlight. From the stairs and balconies of this open space, everyone will be able to see all of the organisations and bustling people that inhabit the building’s four stories, fulfilling the Centre’s hopes to be a catalyst for collaboration between LGBTQI groups.

The Victorian Pride Centre will be the beginning of a daring new era of Australian LGBTQI history, so it’s only fitting that the building itself is masterfully designed to celebrate diversity and encourage cooperation. With the centre being built just a tram ride away from Casper Studio, our team can’t wait to see its beautiful shapes filling the city with pride.

For more insight into local Melbourne design from Casper Magazine, see our article on The Green Spine building that’s planned for the CBD.

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