Designer Shane O’Riley has presented an ambitious design for a concert hall in Perth – one he envisions will place the city on the international stage.
O’Riley, director of design firm Visionary Vanguard, spent five years designing the structure.
The concert hall is designed to be an iconic structure that will rise out of the Swan River and will feature a form that echoes the structural design of the Sydney Opera House.
O’Riley told Today Tonight that “jaws have dropped” when people see the bold design, which he hopes will be realised as part of the Elizabeth Quay waterfront development in Perth.
Elizabeth Quay is a $2.6 billion urban development project which spans almost 10 hectares and is designed to reconnect Perth to the iconic Swan River. There is a currently a space reserved for a cultural precinct, which is precisely where O’Riley hopes the hall will be located if realised.
The proposal calls for a full cultural venue with the ability to seat 1,200 people and housing an opera house, art gallery and outdoor amphitheatres.
Aesthetically, the design has drawn mixed responses from critics and the public. It has already been compared to a lamb rack, an echidna and a crustacean rising out of the water. These descriptions are reflected by the venue’s arc-like structure venue, which is reminiscent of the “shells” of the Sydney Opera House but also features a wooden skeletal structure rising vertically and weaving through the white façade.
Speaking to ABC, O’Riley described the structure as a a metaphor for “what it feels like to be sculpturally inside music, without the experience of the sound.”
“The living embodiment is you being inside a musical instrument, a sculpture, something that is dynamic and inspirational,” he said.
O’Riley’s vision has already secured a national conceptual design/unbuilt projects award from the Building Designers Association of WA and has attracted international interest.
“Shayne’s conceptual design for an amazing new Regional Arts Centre on the Perth foreshore is truly exciting and adventurous,” the Building Designers Association jury said. “It is skillfully designed to collect natural light from the north, distribute it into the core, transfer heat gains and maximise natural cooling through mass construction, at the same time combining function, quality and stunning aesthetics.”
While many of the world’s most prominent concert halls are 19th century structures, including La Scala in Milan and the Royal Opera House in London, Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s ambitious design of the Sydney Opera House is world renowned.
The Sydney Opera House is an icon for Sydney and Australia, and its design has inspired the Auditorio de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.
Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the Auditorio was completed in 2003 and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Its distinctive design has seen it become an architectural symbol for the city.
It is notable for voluminous curves, with one prominent arc which seems to defy gravity fluidly leaning over the entire structure. Its waterfront location and architectural similarities to the Sydney Opera House have seen it dubbed “the Sydney of the Atlantic”.
The Lotus Temple in New Delhi India also took a page out of Utzon’s book with a building that features 27 free-standing marble clad petals which cluster to form a nine sided structure – a reflection of the lotus flower.
With a projected cost of $1.2 billion many are doubtful O’Riley’s ambitious project will be realised.
He said, however, that people, especially politicians, need to look past the cost and think about what an iconic building could do for the city.
“If you look at Sydney for example, it is the architectural and urban landmarks that have located it on the map,” he said. “We need to think about things in Perth in terms of what we need iconically and then have everything else revolves around that centrepiece”.