Planning a trip to the Apple Isle this summer break? Developer Riverlee is hoping you’ll add its latest attraction, complete with a “cathedral” space dedicated to “worshipping the weekend”, to your Hobart sightseeing map.
Initially opened to coincide with the Dark Mofo festival in June, In the Hanging Gardens – the name given to a radical mixed-use precinct surrounding the former Odeon Theatre site – reopened permanently on November 1 after a months-long renovation.
The centrepiece of the $5 million precinct, which is a collaboration between Melbourne-based Riverlee and Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art’s subsidiary for creative projects DarkLab, is a newly erected outdoor space dubbed the “Cathedral lawn”.
Fitted with faux grass and surrounded by potted trees, the dog-friendly space has been designed to host a weekly produce market and street food vendors as well as acting as a beer garden for a crop of new bars opened at the relaunch.
Designed by Fender Katsalidis in collaboration with Six Degrees, the project is a precursor to what Riverlee anticipates will be a transformation of the 6834-square-metre site that almost spans an entire Hobart city block – the result of 11 separate purchases made by Riverlee over a period of 14 years.
While the opening is a permanent move, the overall aesthetic of In the Hanging Gardens has been designed with flexibility in mind.
The different structures in the precinct, including the “cathedral” roof, have been designed to be relocated elsewhere in the precinct, according to Fender Katsalidis director James Pearce.
“Left intentionally raw, unfinished and temporary, steel portal frames with gardens hanging above create a gathering space, serviced by containers,” he said.
“The area is fitted out with a bar, kitchen and toilets, with space left over for a variety of food-truck operators to expand the offering. The adjacent gravel car park at a lower level has had a roof placed over it of cathedral-like proportions, based on a sectional 2:1 ratio and the golden mean. The roof provides weather protection and a visual marker for a variety of uses, limited only by our imagination.”
With a heavy emphasis on live music, the precinct’s artistic programming has been similarly designed with constant change in mind.
To start, a new series called Good Fridays will see the cathedral lit up “in worship for the weekend to come,” according to a Riverlee spokesperson.
The evening event will be a weekly occurrence over summer with a diverse roster of DJs slated to play. Other events scheduled for the summer months including parties for Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and a Triple J Hottest 100 Party.
Riverlee and Darklab are hoping to use In the Hanging Gardens as a pilot for how the rest of the amalgamated site will be developed.
“Rather than pre-determining a master plan for the site, our approach – in collaboration with Riverlee and DarkLab – is to start small and provide an infrastructure for food and beverage, performance and other cultural uses. From these experiments in activation, what works well will be expanded upon to create a precinct with an authentic story and identity formed from the ground up,” Mr Pearce said.
The next stage of development at the site will see High Altar, a nightclub above the old Tattersalls building, open in June 2020. Riverlee is anticipating that private capital investment in the development, which will incorporate a mixture of residential, commercial and hotel facilities, will eventually exceed $200 million.
Keep up with Commercial Real Estate news.