The dichotomy of the typical perimeter block externally shaping a larger public urban space while enclosing a secluded internal space is dissolved into a continuum between the two. This is achieved by three complementary moves. First, the raising of the perimeter and second, the opening up of the perimeter at the corner pointing at the pier head and revealing the expressed volume of the auditorium as the main solid figure within the perimeter of the site. Finally, it is achieved through the continuation of the public urban space by means of extending the plaza with a gentle slope into the site, establishing a new ground plane over the main foyer areas.
Thus, the project provides a raised plaza suitable for outdoor performances and offering an enhanced vista back into the Inner Harbour and Bay.
The building concept is based on the architectural expression of the hierarchy between serviced and servicing spaces: the auditorium and other public and semi-public performance and rehearsal spaces spring like jewels from a band of rationally lined-up support accommodations. This band is then wrapped around the perimeter of the site like an inverted necklace, where all the jewels turn towards each other creating a concentrated public space between each other, accessible to the public from the centre while serviced from the back around the perimeter.
This central space is experienced from the courtyard open to the sky, as well as from the foyer areas under the raised ground floor. The auditorium and the main rehearsal studios penetrate this floor. Cuts in this plane mark the two axes crossing the space from the two main entrances: the main pedestrian entrance from the Oval Basin Piazza and the concourse entrance with drop-off from Pier head Street.