Situated within the hub of Brunswick, Howler Bar and Performing Arts Theatre provides a missing piece to the local arts, music, food and entertainment culture, as well as adding a new and unique green ‘public’ space to the rapidly developing inner north.
Encompassing a ‘hidden’ Melbourne feel, the extensive venue is flexible to accommodate everything from a casual day-time coffee to an alluring night-time event with provision for 700 people.
Driven by the concept of an abstract urban forest, Howler blurs the boundaries between interior and landscape. Part natural, part artificial, this design uses a range of materials and textures combined with careful lighting and shadow effects to recreate a wilderness from far away.
Sitting entirely within an existing 1000 m² abandoned wool store warehouse shell, part of the northern roof is now open to the elements bringing the outside in. Previously a large single void, the space is now layered with a gradation between landscape and interior, using plants and sunlight to blur the distinction between the two.
Hosting three distinct areas for a performing arts theatre, internal bar and external beer garden, the venue is designed functionally around a central work zone to create efficiencies to service each space.
The theatre and internal bar are characterised as a fantasy forest with an imaginative landscape carved from an accumulation of steel tubes and lines of timber slabs. The entire space is illuminated with whimsical coloured lights making it a dreamlike place especially at night and for hosting events. Layers of detail reveal themselves throughout to enhance this feeling of being in a fantasy forest.
The beer garden creates an equally wonderous natural garden using reclaimed timers and wild planters which weave from the ground to overhead encircling the area with lush foliage.
Working with a modest budget and limited timeframe, the warehouse is transformed into a spectacular performance environment attracting artists, and staff.Back to Projects