For many years, Circus Oz occupied a former post office and adjoining drill hall in Port Melbourne. The heritage and spatial limitations of these buildings gradually impacted on the their ability to expand or rehearse key components of their act, such as trapeze work. Arts Victoria has found them a new home in part of the former Collingwood Technical School, adapted for them by Lovell Chen.
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.
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.