Five Design Firms Shortlisted for QPAC’s New Performing Arts Venue

A concept impression of how the new QPAC theatre at the Cultural Centre could look like
A concept impression of how the new QPAC theatre at the Cultural Centre could look like

A $150 million new theatre for QPAC is one step closer, with the announcement of a shortlist of firms that will participate in a design competition.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) was the busiest theatre complex in Australia.

“In 2018 our Government committed $125 million towards the new theatre to help Queensland keep attracting bigger shows and more visitors.

“This is the biggest investment in arts infrastructure since the Gallery of Modern Art and will further boost our state’s cultural vibrancy and support and showcase our local arts sector.”

“Following an Expression of Interests process, five shortlisted consultants will now go on to develop concept designs for the new 1500-seat theatre, with the successful applicant to be announced later this year.

Image of QPAC from the Victoria Bridge
Image of QPAC from the Victoria Bridge

“This project will create more than 100 jobs during construction.

“With QPAC nearing full capacity, this new theatre will ensure our state’s four home companies (including Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre) can continue to grow and will enable them to perform in front of audiences that will be double their usual size.”

The five design teams have now been shortlisted to develop concept designs through the Design Competition Tender process are:

  • Blight Rayner Architecture
  • Cox Architecture
  • ARM Architecture / M3 Architecture
  • Richard Kirk Architects
  • Wilson Architects

Deputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad said the new theatre would be a wonderful addition to the internationally-recognised Queensland Cultural Centre, which already attracts millions of visitors every year.

“The new theatre will make QPAC Australia’s largest performing arts centre, with the potential to host an extra 300,000 visitors each year when fully operational,” she said.

Location of NPAV (new performing arts venue)
Location of NPAV (new performing arts venue)

“People come from across the state and the country to our community of South Brisbane to visit QPAC and this new theatre will make it even bigger and better.”

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said 24 eligible Expressions of Interest (EOI) were received from some of the most experienced architectural consultants globally.

“This is a testament to the significance and profile of this project,” Ms Enoch said.

“Today’s announcement of the shortlist marks another important step for the new venue, which will further Queensland’s artistic talent and increase our ability to tell unique and important stories for this and future generations.

“All submissions in the EOI process were rigorously assessed by the tender evaluation committee which was led by the Chair, Mr Malcolm Middleton OAM, Queensland Government Architect, against criterion including capability and capacity, relevant experience and local benefits.

“I’m delighted to see a number of high quality Queensland firms on the shortlist.

“I would like to thank all design teams for the time and effort they put into preparing their EOI submissions.”

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said this was an important and meaningful milestone for the new theatre project.

Timeline of NPAV (new performing arts venue)
Timeline of NPAV (new performing arts venue)

“The volume of interest expressed in the theatre design and visioning of Australia’s largest performing arts venue demonstrates tremendous support for the vital role this Centre plays both locally and internationally,” said Mr Kotzas.

The development on the Heritage Listed Queensland Cultural Centre, will be guided by the Conservation Management Plan to ensure the character and heritage value of the site is retained.

Early works for construction will commence in 2020 and it is expected construction will take up to two years with completion in late 2022.


  1. The usual suspects. Why not give another architecture company a chance? There is lots of talent, and they might get something unexpected.
    Judging from the past I expect there will be 4 very similar ‘Queensland’ designs plus a ‘weird one’ from ARM.

    • – Snøhetta & Blight Rayner Architecture
      – Cox Architecture & AL_A
      – ARM + m3architecture
      – Richard Kirk Architects & Kerry Hill Architects
      – Henning Larsen + Wilson Architects (Architects in Association)

  2. I thought it was going to be a public design competition as it was previously announced.

    It just same old design firm with same old design year after year, Brisbane needs a new architectural monumental landmark. Why can’t you hold a public design allowing all principle to compete? who knows something new and special might born from it.


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