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Country Culture

Situated at the foothills of the Dandenong ranges on land that was once exclusively rural, the Cardinia Cultural Centre sits low, like the grazing animals that used to dot the landscape. Nicky Lobo reports.

Country Culture


May 30th, 2008

Far removed from the dairy farms and fruit orchards that were the keystones of the area, the Centre, designed by Suters Prior Cheney, is heralding a new kind of country culture for the people of the Pakenham shire, South-East of Melbourne.

This area is one of the most rapidly expanding corridors in Victoria, a developing gateway between the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne and the more regional Warragul. The Cultural Centre stands as a symbol of Pakenham’s literal and metaphoric location between the two diverse landscapes.

Eager to provide a cultural space for Pakenham’s growing population, the Shire of Cardinia appointed Suters Prior Cheney to create an arts and performance complex to enrich the area. Located within the Delfin Lakeside development at Pakenham, the Centre plays an important role in the character of the new and growing community.

Comprising a 350-seat performance auditorium, 400-seat function centre, multi-use gallery space and visual arts incubator centre, the Centre caters for a number of community activities aimed at the facilitation of cultural awareness. In addition to the arts facilities, the Centre includes a fine-dining room which fronts onto the man-made Lake Pakenham, a full commercial preparation kitchen and all associated back-of-house facilities.

The dynamic, sculptural form belies the civic nature of the building, although the scale remains considerate of the residential surrounds. The theatre acts as a central node from which the individual components of the building are separately expressed. This logically situates the galleries and dining areas around the periphery where an abundance of natural light penetrates through highlighted windows….

To read the whole article, see Indesign Magazine, Issue 33 (August), at newsagents now.

Cardinia Cultural Centre



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