The iconic Toowoomba City Hall, one of Toowoomba’s landmark buildings, has confirmed its place as a much-loved community space after a major renovation project undertaken by Toowoomba Regional Council.
The restoration of the City Hall Annex unearthed hidden secrets restoring its art deco elegance while adding the benefits of the latest 21st Century technology.
The historic City Hall Annex is designed to host civic events, such as citizenship ceremonies, conferences and seminars in the main auditorium with a balcony level providing space for break out sessions, meetings and receptions.
Visual Focus worked closely with the Toowoomba Regional Council representatives, the appointed builders for the restoration North Build Construction and Livewired Electrical to deliver the venue’s state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and a fully automation control.
On stage, the audio-visual equipment features a Screen Technics motorised rear projection screen and Epson G series projector delivering brilliant images approximately 4.3m x 2.7m in size.
The in-house sound system includes a selection of JBL speakers from the Application Engineered (AE) Series matched to deliver high performance audio in both auditorium front seating and under balcony areas. The system includes Soundweb London audio processing and a range of Shure radio microphone kits, with day-to-day operation through automated control or for larger operated events, the addition of a digital audio desk add to the functionality.
Using Crestron control, the touch screen panels are programmed to offer an intuitive user experience with fast response and easy navigation. This automation provides Council a cost effective approach to staffing of standardised events and cocktail functions.
The stage is fitted with a lighting system featuring ETC ColorSource LED pars and spots with DMX control to the Crestron panel. The pre-programmed lighting states provide a range of uses with highlights for lectern placement and general wash options.
The Crestron Control is integrated with the Clipsal C-bus system to control LED architectural lighting for the new foyer Annex with colour change options to highlight community support of events.
The original City Hall, designed to house municipal offices, library and spaces for social and cultural events, was officially opened on 12 December 1900. The original upper level Gallery seating area has been renovated as a discrete meeting room with a glass feature wall providing views of the lower auditorium.
The Gallery is fitted with an Epson G-Series projector and motorised Screen Technics front projection screen. The in-house system can duplicate content on screen in the auditorium or provide a camera view of the stage to serve as an overflow or VIP area.
Both the Gallery and the main Auditorium are fitted with hearing augmentation from Listen Technologies to meet the legislative requirements for public buildings.
During its 118 years, a colourful past has seen City Hall host more than community gatherings, performances, eisteddfod and civic events. A home for culture of all kinds, the historic building staged wrestling and boxing matches in the 1930s, was Toowoomba’s first library and was home to the post office in the 1970s.
The restoration project was influenced by images from the City Hall history, particularly those from the 1930’s that inspired art deco elements in the design. As its internal fabric was stripped back, the original building design revealed windows and columns now visible in the restoration.
Art deco screens were inspired by a motif in the original 1930s interior window screens, the original 1930s plaster ceiling was restored to former glory and the stage proscenium is rebuilt based on old photographs.
The City Hall Annex has a capacity of 600 people in stand up mode and caters for 80-100 people in the Gallery space upstairs, 180-200 people in a banquet setting downstairs or in theatre style 150 in the Gallery and 400 people in the main auditorium.
Project: $8.3 million
Restoration completed and City Hall Annex reopened December 2017.