Cairns Performing Arts Centre marks a rich new beginning in the cultural life of Far North Queensland. CPAC sits at the heart of a Council-led initiative entitled The Precinct, consisting of the performing arts centre, tropical parkland and ampitheatre. The new facility contains both a 940-seat main theatre and a 400-seat space, is technically equipped to support the world’s best performers but maintains a scale appropriate to community use as well.
From the outset, our plan for the project was underpinned by the following principles: the building must be inclusive and welcoming to Cairns’ diverse and vibrant community; it must be flexible, allowing a range of community and professional uses; it must be technologically appropriate to ensure that it attracts the best acts; and it must be economically sound, creating new facilities that would increase revenue and thereby help to offset capital costs.
Visually and functionally, the building inherently responds to its tropical surrounds. Verandah-like foyer spaces blur the edges between inside and out and create a feeling of dynamism at street level. A visually striking screen wraps around the building, enhancing its civic presence, helping to mediate extremes in light conditions and create a play on light in the foyer. Its design alludes to the beautiful Dilly bags and fish nets produced in traditional weaving across Far North Queensland.
The new building celebrates its enviable tropical location and acknowledges the importance that cultural facilities play in the life of a community. CPAC was designed by Cox Architecture in association with CA Architects.