The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Slattery was appointed as cost consultant by the University of Melbourne for the consolidation of eleven buildings into one world-class conservatorium, the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), at the Southbank campus.

The iconic façade and acoustically superior building presents a unique opportunity to create educational and performance spaces at the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct, as part of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) campus. This brings together the Faculty of VCA and MCM, two prestigious institutions onto one campus, providing education in a comprehensive suite of artistic disciplines, including Music, Music Theatre, Contemporary Music, Visual Art, Film and Television, Dance, Theatre and Production. It is also being designed and built to minimum 5-star Green Star ESD rating.

The new building will comprise orchestral rehearsal space, studios, music workshops, teaching spaces, educational centre, administration, library and external landscaped areas for informal performance training. It will provide a lively, unique and specifically arts-focused environment and will be an important forum for community engagement with the arts, providing extensive public performance and public education programs, including short courses, professional development, community access programs, concerts, recitals, and festivals.

Throughout the project we established weekly meetings with the external PM and Client to improve communication lines and mitigate cost issues on a project with a challenging budget.

Planning issues at ground floor necessitated the relocation of the substation to a new mezzanine level. We have also learnt the cost benefits of separately reviewing façades to rationalise and reduce cost in line with target benchmark rates.  The project presented unique acoustic challenges to be accommodated in our cost framework including vibration and reverberation from internal conflicts (i.e. different practice rooms – sound travelling vertically or horizontally) and those external to MCM, from trams and roads.