Melbourne’s Nicholas Building reveals plans for new rooftop pavillion and garden

A new rooftop pavilion and green public space with inbuilt state of the art solar tech are hallmarks of a bold new vision for Melbourne’s iconic Nicholas Building, revealed today.

The vision brings together investment from a social impact capital firm, local council, and a new purpose-built cultural foundation to create what they say will be a vibrant multi-platform hub for arts and culture where people, ideas and enterprises thrive. The trio have announced the plans to try to get funding from the Victorian state government, saying they’re 75% towards their overall target.

Nicholas Building Association spokesperson Dario Vacirca said: “We have managed to raise more than 75% of what it will cost to manifest this exciting proposition. Beyond the cultural vitality and community joy this project will bring to the city, this social venture also hits all the targets of the State’s 2025 creative state policy and will bring in millions into the state economy through events, tourism, and business. It is a win-win for everyone, and a once in a lifetime opportunity: a for-purpose, community-driven cultural enterprise of scale to flourish and benefit generations of Victorians. The vital last ingredient required to realize this is a commitment from the state government. This investment is time-critical as the building is now back on the open market.”

Plans for the Nicholas Building

  • A new rooftop pavilion and green public space with inbuilt state of the art solar tech
  • A multi-functional live performance venue and hospitality offerings
  • Cultural events programming working with local, regional and international partners
  • New home for leading cultural service and festival organisations
  • Improved facilities through investment in the heritage facade and interiors

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

For more than forty years The Nicholas Building’s iconic art deco edifice situated in the heart of Melbourne has housed every sector of the creative industries. Currently housing over two hundred creative studios and businesses including galleries, literature, film, music, architecture, design, fine art, performance art, theatre, opera, lifelong education, tech, VR art, tech innovation, tailors, millinery, jewellery, bespoke bookshops, occult wares, and local fashion, it is a creative engine unlike anything else in the southern hemisphere and the last of its kind remaining in the city.

In July 2021, the cultural precinct was put on the market. Concerned with being priced out to make way for higher commercial rents, boutique apartments or a hotel, the Nicholas Building Association undertook a far-reaching campaign, gathering support from community, local government, and philanthropy to advocate and invest in its protection as a cultural asset for generations to come. Thousands of people from all over Victoria signed the petition and donated in support of their campaign.

Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Melbourne, Nicholas Reece said: “The City of Melbourne is committed to supporting the Nicholas Building Arts Foundation to develop its unique community-led model which has been a powerhouse for creativity in our city for forty years. We welcome efforts to expand its operation and help make itself sustainable through an annual program of cultural and arts events and new public spaces within the building.”

See draft plans for the proposed Nicholas Building rooftop and garden here. Take a virtual tour here.

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