In 2009, Schuler Shook Theatre Planners was appointed the theatre planning consultants for the renovation of Hamer Hall at The Arts Centre in Melbourne, Australia. In July 2012, the significantly refurbished hall opened to rave reviews.
The AUD$135.8 million redevelopment of Hamer Hall is part of a larger revitalisation project for The Arts Centre and the first step in the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment plan.
The heritage listed Arts Centre is the largest and busiest performing arts complex in the southern hemisphere. Hamer Hall is the concert hall within the centre. Home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Hamer Hall also hosts a wide variety of performance events throughout the year, from theatre to rock and roll.
Schuler Shook’s Melbourne office led the theatre planning and consulting effort for this renovation that improved the stage and backstage facilities, enhanced acoustics, upgraded technical systems, and significantly improved the audience experience. Most importantly, the architectural refurbishment plan organised the Arts Centre site to allow the public to feel more connected to, and welcomed by, the performance buildings.
The 2,400-seat Hamer Hall has been transformed into a 21st-century performance space with the primary focus on orchestral presentations, but with the ability to also produce many other types of productions.
Schuler Shook introduced the concept of the most significant innovation within the refurbished concert hall: the new floating “technical zone” which is a carefully designed hybrid stage grid that incorporates all of the new over-stage functionality into a tight steel frame. This grid supports a new 12 tonne acoustical reflector, powered rigging battens, touring loads, sound equipment, and lighting equipment and is safe to work in and easy to access. This transformation is completely mechanised and allows the stage to be changed over with minimal time and labor
The much-anticipated grand opening was held July 26, 2012, to high praise for the improvements to the hall.