Time throws the shortcomings of Australia’s grandest arts venues into sharp relief. Where once we settled for 20th-century theatrical and orchestral buildings that sacrificed acoustic acuity or stage design, capital cities are now ambitiously rebooting these cultural temples to match grand façades with better functioning interiors in a bid to become the nation’s major performing arts capital.

Arts Venues Concept renders of new QPAC theatre, courtesy of Snøhetta and Blight Rayner Architecture; the Sydney Coliseum auditorium and stage; Hedberg Building, Hobart, courtesy of Liminal Architecture, WOHA and Arup


An upgraded Opera House, the new Coliseum, progress at Pier 4/5 but delays at Pier 2/3

The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall will undergo the longest disruption of Australia’s arts venues during the next two years, the legacy of short cuts taken in realising architect Jørn Utzon’s vision. The hall was built with a large crown of space above the stage, and enough room for a machinery flying system for the likes of opera and ballet, but a last-minute switch prior to the building’s 1973 opening moved such productions to what is now the Joan Sutherland Theatre. This change left orchestras in the Concert Hall with...