This project is the creation of a multi-use cultural and civic hub in Victoria’s historic Port of Sale precinct.
- To connect the centre of town to the port
- Provide accessible links to revitalised youth spaces
- Create a new children’s play and family recreation space
- Encourage locals and tourists to explore the stories of the Indigenous Gurnai Kurnai people
The reimagined Port of Sale Cultural Hub (PoSCH), originally designed as an office space by Stephenson & Turner in the late-modern brutalist style, provides new links and views to the port and embraces light and space, providing the country town of Sale with a new civic and cultural heart.
Key elements include redeveloping the building to house the regional Gippsland Art Gallery, relocation and expansion of the Sale Library, relocation of the Visitor Information Centre, new council chambers, provision of public use meeting rooms, children’s art exhibition space, and an art workshop space.
The former disused courtyards have been transformed into expansive atria with soaring curved ceilings, creating two light-filled atrium areas, while an ampitheatre staircase showcasing local timber leads visitors from the port to the library. Clear sightlines allow the public to view the democratic process within the council chambers from the shared atrium, while children in the art workshop can look through expansive glass to the library, gallery and the landscape beyond.
The design speaks to the original brutalist architectural language by stripping back finishes to expose the structure, expressing the existing grid and open floor plate. Materials and finishes are robust and honest, with insertions of finely crafted local timber finishes, flooring and joinery in key shared public locations. Existing concrete slabs were revealed and clear coated or applied with epoxy coating. Bright and bold graphics are integrated into the signage, way finding, branding and streetscape banners, encouraging the public to ‘Ask, Seek, Find’ in their exploration of their precinct and hub.
Outside, the building creates links to outdoor parks, waterways and bike paths. In a town dominated by the highway, the building and landscape address the historic Port of Sale for the first time, telling the story of the Indigenous Gurnai Kurnai people, and of Sale as an important trade route.