What was once the Victoria Police Mounted Branch stables, has been transformed into a world-class teaching and learning facility for students of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, following an $18 million makeover.

The Stables, undertaken with the generous support of The Ian Potter Foundation and Myer Foundation, provides a new visual arts wing and entry point into the University of Melbourne’s Southbank Campus.

Featuring spectacular interiors and dynamic installations, The Stables forms a world-class visual arts and performance space in the heart of the city’s Arts Precinct. Umow Lai worked with Kerstin Thompson Architects to deliver a light-filled space that inspires innovation for students and creatives alike.

The heritage listed building includes carefully considered design elements with extensive electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, fire protection, audio visual, vertical transportation and fire safety services, configured by the team at Umow Lai.

Preservation of original heritage features are maintained through its bluestone mounting yards, red brick façade and octagonal roof and skylight, repurposed for artistic production and practice.

The impressive project was recently recognised at the 2018 Victorian Architecture Awards earlier in June this year, receiving accolades in the Heritage & Educational Architecture categories and a commendation for interior Architecture. The Stables also made the 2018 AIA National Heritage & Educational Architecture Shortlist.

Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley, officially opened The Stables ahead of the Architecture Awards event, and says the project has “breathed new life” into the revamped Arts Precinct landmark.

“Our Government is investing in the future of the precinct as a hub and a home for creativity – a place where our best and brightest students and independent artists, our most innovative small to medium arts companies, and our iconic cultural institutions all play a role in shaping a destination like no other,” he said.

As the technical advisors of this project, Umow Lai’s involvement with The Stables redevelopment has endorsed further engagement within the arts community, whilst assisting the City of Melbourne’s vision to foster national and international partnerships in “the heart” of Melbourne’s Art Precinct.


Hero image above and photo below by: John Gollings

Photo below by: Trevor Mein

Photo below by: Trevor Mein