The Stables, Victorian College of the Arts


Kerstin Thompson Architects



Completion date


The former Victoria Police Mounted Branch stables, which date from 1912, ('The Stables') have been transformed into world-class teaching and learning facilities for students of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music following an $18 million make-over.

The Stables feature a new visual arts wing with 170 studios and flexible exhibition spaces, while the former riding school has been converted into a 260-seat multipurpose arts wing for theatre, dance, music theatre and music performances. 

Photographer: Trevor Mein


Artistic expression can be enhanced within the right environment, and in conjunction with Kerstin Thompson Architects, we are proud to have created a truly inspirational space.

The double height volumes, complex geometry of the exposed structure and considered celebration of the building’s original purpose, all work in harmony with the building’s core functional requirement, which is of course flexibility.

Marshall Day was engaged as a core design team member to provide:

  • Building Acoustics for the entire refurbishment
  • Room Acoustics for the performing arts space
  • Theatre Design of the multi-purpose, highly flexible performing arts space. - Read the theatre design case study here.


Working within a heritage listed building presented significant challenges for the design and implementation of acoustic treatment into the building. Flexibility and creativity were necessary to develop a design that fitted within the constraints of allowable modifications. A particular challenge was detailing for sound insulation within the Octagon office spaces – areas where the junction between new walls and the heritage shell of the building required specific care, and Kane Construction helped with executing the design intent.


Building services design

The services design responded to the constraints of a unique layout for the offices and stables areas, while maintaining the performance requirements of the brief.  Our understanding of acoustic issues gained from a multitude of educational projects and our work on historic buildings was utilised in a close working relationship with the architect and services engineers to develop practical and effective acoustic solutions for the development.

Performance space

Providing flexibility in venue sound ambiance within the Performance Space was critical to maintaining the brief for a multi-use space. The provision of fully-retractable heavy drapes which extend around the entire space creates a black-box. This allows control over the acoustics to provide conditions suited to a range of performance styles. Once retracted, the space is flooded with natural light to create a truly versatile environment.


  • Victorian AIA Awards 2018 - Heritage Architecture 
  • Victorian AIA Awards 2018 - Educational Architecture
  • Victorian AIA Awards 2018 - Interior Architecture Commendation