It’s bold and it’s beautiful, with a shimmering exterior that befits a new era for music and the creative arts at the University of Tasmania.
The scaffolding has come down from The Hedberg building in the centre of Hobart, revealing its opalescent sparkle inspired by a Tasmanian abalone shell. Appropriately dramatic, the exterior shimmers in the sunshine and is moody when the skies are grey, its crinkled ‘curtains’ either side of each window pulled back to denote the opening of a performance.
The Hedberg will open for Semester 1, 2020, after being almost 10 years in the conception, consultation, planning and construction stages.
The world-class teaching, research and collaboration facility includes a 288-seat recital hall and state-of-the-art recording studio.
Located a short walk from the art school in Hunter Street, the media school in Salamanca, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at the Federation Concert Hall and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, The Hedberg sits at the heart of Hobart’s creative precinct. Its proximity to these places, as well as to IMAS and the Medical Science Precinct, places it perfectly for collaboration and cross-disciplinary activity in which music converges with other creative arts and the sciences.
The Head of the School of Creative Arts and Media, Associate Professor Meg Keating, says The Hedberg will be an incubator for creative practice, research, partnerships and engagement.
“The Hedberg takes us unequivocally into the creative future, giving our music and creative arts students the best learning spaces and bringing students, staff, industry and community together,” she said.
When the Conservatorium of Music moved into what was the former ABC building in Sandy Bay Road 30 years ago, the move was supposed to be temporary. A new home for the music program has been a long time coming, but staff and students are now preparing for the new era starting in 2020.
The theatre program will also be taught in The Hedberg from Semester 1, 2020, expanded from Launceston (where it will continue unchanged).
One of the most important aspects of student learning at new site is the availability of facilities enabling the full creative cycle of forming a concept, developing and rehearsing that concept and then taking it to the audience through performance or recording.
Associate Professor Keating said the music and creative arts programs aimed to equip students with the agility needed for contemporary creative careers and leadership. “We want to use this building in a way that reflects how convergence technologies are changing what is creatively possible and therefore redefining creative careers,” she said.
Work-integrated learning and partnerships with creative industries and festivals in Tasmania and further afield will be a critical part of the experience. The community will come into the building for performances in the Recital Hall, the Salon and the Theatre Royal’s Studio Theatre, or just for coffee at the ground-floor café.
The building’s public entrance will be off Campbell Street, next to the Theatre Royal. The University’s own entrance will be through the historic façade of the Hedberg Brothers garage on Collins St.
The $110 million Hedberg development is one of Tasmania’s most ambitious cultural and arts infrastructure projects. It is being delivered through a collaborative partnership between the University, the Australian and Tasmanian governments and the Theatre Royal. The Hedberg is also generously supported by a $5 million gift from the Ian Potter Foundation to the University.
The team at Liminal Studio, led by University of Tasmania alumni, partnered with internationally-renowned Singaporean architects WOHA and Arup Acoustics and Theatre to create The Hedberg, setting the stage for creative arts in the 21st century.