Schuler Shook Appointed to Melbourne Arts Centre Project

Schuler Shook Theatre Planners has been appointed the theatre planning consultants for the renovation of Hamer Hall at The Arts Centre in Melbourne, Australia. The AUD$128.5 million redevelopment of Hamer Hall is part of a larger revitalization project for The Arts Centre and the first step in the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment plan.

The Arts Centre is the largest and busiest performing arts complex in the southern hemisphere. Hamer Hall, at 2,600 seats, is home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and also hosts a wide variety of performance events throughout the year. This renovation is expected to improve the stage and backstage facilities, enhance acoustics, upgrade technical systems, and significantly improve the audience experience. It will also add a new performance venue to The Arts Centre, and, most importantly, it will organize The Arts Centre site to allow the public to feel more connected to, and welcomed by, the performance buildings. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010.

“This renovation will bring the Hamer Hall building to the forefront of modern performing arts facilities while retaining the unique character of its architecture,” says Robert Shook, ASTC, founding partner of Schuler Shook. “We are honored to be working with The Arts Centre and its partners, Arts Victoria and Major Projects Victoria, as well as the extraordinarily talented design team selected for this project.”

Robert Shook, ASTC, is the Principal in Charge of Theatre Planning. Joshua Grossman, ASTC, is the Senior Theatre Planner, and Lisa Bernacchi is Schuler Shook's CAD leader. Schuler Shook's presence in Melbourne is led by Project Manager Jim Hultquist, ASTC, LEED® AP. Assisting Schuler Shook for the extent of this project will be Australia-based consultants, Richard Stuart Theatre Planner and Ted Fregon of Inspired Light + Motion.

Jim Hultquist has joined Schuler Shook as a Project Consultant with 9 years of theatre consulting experience ranging from black box theatres to multi-venue performing arts centers, capitalizing on his experience as a theatre lighting designer with designs for regional, civic, and touring productions, as well as architectural lighting designs. Jim's specialty is technical equipment design and specifications from stage lighting to rigging with a special emphasis on coordinating stage equipment with building systems. He has also been working with manufacturers and other partners to increase the sustainability and energy efficiency of theatre buildings.

“We are extremely pleased to have Jim Hultquist aboard and feel that his background and focus on sustainability in the performance environment will serve the Hamer Hall project well,” states Robert Shook.

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