Based on a concept of ‘long life loose fit’, and building on the inherent adaptable and creative nature of the circus, the design selectively removed portions of the original buildings from the centre of the site and constructed only what could not be accommodated by the existing. By roofing over the in-between spaces that link the old and new, a central street/circulation/passage/green room has been created that loosely stitches together the functional spaces.
In this way, the design enables circus functions to organically colonise the spaces — and allows for further alteration and adaptation as the need arises. It also enables the company and visitors to catch glimpses of the multitude of creative activities taking place in the rooms around them.
The scheme has created a series of flexible functional spaces in existing structures for workshops, offices, music rooms, costume production and set storage. Alongside these are rigorously crafted high-volume rehearsal spaces in new structures, where the athletic precision and creative tension of the circus can be rehearsed and perfected.
A key ambition is for this project is for it to lead the renaissance of its inner city block as a broader arts and educational precinct for the local community and other arts organisations. Circus Oz contributes through its youth-focused education programmes, which include high performance circus skills classes that draw people in from across Melbourne.
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