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Woods Bagot to design the Geelong Convention and Exhibition centre 

Woods Bagot to design the Geelong Convention and Exhibition centre 


The global architecture studio, fresh off the back of numerous short-listings in the World Architecture Festival awards, is tasked with designing Geelong’s convention and exhibition centre. 

This Woods Bagot design-led project will shine as owed to the multi-disciplinary efforts from sponsor, investor and hotel and commercial office developer Plenary Group, facility management BGIS and commercial office developer Quintessential Equity

The centre is the core component of the $500 million Geelong City Deal that hopes to rejuvenate the city and highlight the potential of the Bellarine Peninsula visitor economy. 

Woods Bagot’s leadership in this project further cements its reputation for developing civic-scale cultural institutions that reflect a thoughtful consideration with the surrounding landscape and urban life.  

Initial site works have commenced, with construction to shortly follow. The new precinct will be located on the Geelong waterfront on Western Beach road and boast a 1000-seat venue, meeting rooms, conference facilities, adaptive event spaces and two large exhibition spaces. 

Car parking spaces will occupy 1.6 hectares of the waterfront space, and patrons will enjoy retail spaces, hospitality ventures, a 200 room Crowne plaza hotel and a public piazza. 

The precinct aims to inject vibrancy and life into Geelong’s social and cultural scene via gathering spaces, public seating and hospitality venues. 

Additionally, public art and street seating will be coupled with landscape architecture to imbue the outdoor environment with cohesion and flow in an effort to bolster the amenity and usage of the waterfront. 

The building’s materiality seeks to advertise the city’s connection to the waterfront through the three-dimensional ceramic glazed tiles that echo the bay’s tonality, texture and light refraction. 

Consultations with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, who are also a project partner, will deliver meaningful connections to Country and local cultural heritage.

Woods Bagot global sector leader for civic and events and precinct design lead Bruno Mendes says the space will ignite fascination with the city’s cultural heritage and history. 

“This is an opportunity to promote the broader Bellarine Peninsula and what it has to offer through embracing the waterfront context oriented towards Corayo (Corio Bay) and the Wurdi Youang (You Yangs),” says Mendes. 

The project will call on the knowledge and expertise of local artists, small business, social enhancement initiatives and cultural organisations. 

Mendes also confirms how Geelong’s significant status as an UNESCO City of Design will be further enriched by this centre. 

After completion, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust will manage the centre which is set to be one of the most significant developments in regional Victoria, according to deputy Prime Minister and member for Corio Richard Marles. 

The centre will offer 600 jobs during construction and an additional 270 ongoing roles post-construction. 

In line with creating more opportunities for those experiencing barriers and restrictions when attempting to enter the workforce, the government will also hire 28 local apprentices and trainees to work on the precinct. 

The convention centre and hotel are predicted to be completed by 2026. 

Renders supplied by Woods Bagot. 

Check out Woods Bagot’s shortlistings in the Inside World Festival of Interiors.

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