building the unfinished:
BAU003M Victorian Pride Centre

St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia



Architecture, Interior Architecture


Public Building, Culture, Office, Commercial


St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia




Competition 1st Prize, Completed 2021


Victorian Pride Centre


Shared work spaces, theatre, library, medical clinics, office, meeting rooms, commercial tenancies, roof top terrace, garden.

The Victorian Pride Centre (VPC) is the new home of Victoria’s LGBTQI communities. It is located in St. Kilda, the Melbourne beachside district renowned for its history of alternative popular culture. While being the the centre for numerous resident organisations, dozens of other groups will also frequent the building for meetings, events, and projects. The building provides a public working hub, café, theatre/multi-function space, library/archive, health centres, roof top garden, art gallery and lettable space for tenants interested in a relationship with the LGBTQI communities.

In January 2018 BAU (Brearley Architects and Urbanists) and GAA (Grant Amon Architects) were selected winners of a two-stage design competition. Their objectives, concepts, and propositions for the project are as follows.

BAU/GAA believe in being well informed, be it a well prepared brief, understanding the site, knowing the client, or the introduction of other physical or intellectual frameworks.

Our client represents a community working towards a more equitable, tolerant and supportive society, and they became our expert consultant on LGBTQI community issues. Members of the design team had lived in St. Kilda for over 25 years. We also sought extensive input from the local indigenous community. Finally, we brought to this project contemporary concepts of becoming, of dynamic systems, and the sublime.

BAU/GAA seek an architecture of inclusion – an architecture of and, and, and.
…meaningful form and space full of potential; an order informed from the top down and the bottom up; a robust aesthetic and rationally pragmatic; cost effective and symbolically informed; poetic and rigorously articulated: flexible and surprising; equitable and free; and trans-cultural.

Each LGBTQI person has a personal challenge in moving from culturally imposed shame to a sense of pride. The fight for equality, mutual support, and community is an essential social project.

Exploring the aesthetics of the un-finished, the robust, the work in progress, the studio, the workshop, the factory; this building reinforces this atmosphere of work in progress and enables the LGBTQI community and the general community to get involved and contribute. This building contains a community of equals not a labour force of hierarchies.

Sustainability targets include: zero carbon operation; rainwater capture to meet WC and on-site irrigation needs; grey water toilets; indigenous flora roof garden, forty-seven bike parking spaces and five showers; zero-energy breeze paths utilising a stack effect; and a 50kW photovoltaic roof installation.

     viability and constructability
The project also provides: flexible rentable commercial space; a café fronting Fitzroy Street; a rooftop bar and amenities for events; a theatre-cinema bar to enable a private operator to cater for both private and VPC events; and a bookshop under the atrium stair-stage.

The building is highly systemized. It is a simple column and beam structure based on a commercial carparking grid.

     be a good neighbour
To be a good neighbour the design needs to respond to:
a.) the urban design requirements in Fitzroy Street;
b.) solar access and perceived scale for residences in Jackson Street;
c.) the need to save the existing trees;

     connectivity is urbanity
The edges of Fitzroy Street and Jackson Street contain active edges that provide eyes on the street. The Fitzroy Street facade continues over the footpath, giving the building the presence of a public landmark.

Wherever possible the building’s circulation spaces have been programmed: from the entry to the VPC ellipsoid atrium – an exhibition-gallery space; the VPC ellipsoid atrium grand stair is a stage – a great place to be, not just a space to pass through.

Local indigenous content will include: small-scale details cast in concrete, acts of naming; the ground surface taking on the significance of country – all exploring themes common to local indigenous and LGBTQI values.

     a broader context
St Kilda has a proud architectural and landscape tradition of exuberance, romance, and escape. Memorable buildings explored the theatrical and the dynamic via exceptional Moorish Architecture and an enthusiastic use of curvilinear forms.

Learning from St Kilda, the VPC includes and then abstracts cultural traditions: the surreal follies of Luna Park, the rolling waves of St. Kilda beach, Inga King’s Forward Surge, the Catani Gardens; the pragmatic Esplanade Vaults, the iconic Catani arched bridge; the faded mansions overtaken by vegetation, the decaying beachside structures; the super-graphics of Leo’s spaghetti bar, the Luna Park paintings by Nolan.

contemporary design methods
A series of conceptual tubes emerged as an abstract robust armature that integrates the maximum urban envelope, architectural expression, structure, services, and flexible interior design.

These conceptual tubes are then acted upon by the extraction of urban issues, and the extraction or addition of the specifics of the VPC brief. These issues generate change, encourage difference, diversity, and inclusion, resulting in surprising and emergent outcomes.

The formal, spatial, and ordering arrangements of the building are clear, legible, and without hierarchy.
a.) Circulation radiates from the ellipsoid atrium.
b.) Each floor gathers related programs, visually and spatially linked via the atrium.
c.) Structural and non-structural fabric is clearly articulated, explaining what is permanent and what is easily changed.
d.) A spectrum of hues clarifies levels within the building. On each level tints and shades of the particular hue explore natural light levels. This will be a dramatic building of light and shade.
e.) the interior design explores the coexistence of a series of clear and contradistinctive elements without hierarchy: i.) the container; the contained; ii.) service cores; iii.) floor surfaces; iv.) exposed services; v.) significant site lines; vi.) a timber framework integrated within the front partitions of resident organisations, and hanging rails and track lighting along all walls in public spaces, enable the emergence of an authentic self-expression.

     the sublime
These coexistences lead to an aesthetic that exceeds the idea of the beautiful and presents the more universal and trans-cultural experience of the sublime.

This project is a positive intervention in Fitzroy Street, not another anonymous commercial building. It engages with, understands, and then abstracts the spirit of the place that is St Kilda. The result is a landmark building people will use as a navigation point and a meeting place.

Welcome to the VPC.


Public Landscapes











Urban Design










Mixed Use




Private Landscapes




Structures & Pavillions





































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