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Key details

Location 
12 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria

Policy objective 
Urban renewal

Client
City of Port Phillip
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Project partner
Built Pty Ltd

Overview

A $20 million repair and restoration project has been completed for the Palais Theatre, securing its long term future as a live performance venue.

The iconic Palais Theatre was built in 1927 and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The repair and refurbishment works addressed the building’s critical maintenance issues.

The works included:

  • Updating the theatre’s electrical system to modern standards
  • Improvements to the building’s fire protection systems
  • Upgrades for disabled access and facilities, and various hydraulic systems
  • Refurbishment and repairs of the theatre’s exterior

Approach

The Theatre has been repainted in its original colour – a sandy tone, consistent with the building’s circa 1927 finish.

Heritage Victoria has a policy of encouraging repainting in original schemes, where evidence of the original colour scheme can be determined.

The Palais Theatre was originally given a copperas finish, where an iron sulphate wash is applied to an external masonry render. The iron sulphate reacts with lime in the render, creating a sandy, orange colour as it sets.

The Palais Theatre’s former 'off white' colour dates to the mid-twentieth century, when the building was modified to include a larger orchestra pit and additional dressing rooms to provide a venue for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.

By then, the original copperas finish had faded, leaving the building with a blotchy and uneven grey finish, which probably motivated the decision to repaint.

As part of the recent refurbishment, the original colour was recreated in a paint medium.

Awards

Built won the 2019 National Property Council of Australia’s Innovation and Excellence Award for Best Heritage Development.

Built also won the 2017 National Master Builders Excellence in Construction, Housing and Regional Building Awards for its outstanding work on the project — in the category Commercial Buildings ($15m—$20m) Australian Property.

They were a finalist in the Australian Property Institute Heritage Property Awards.

Location

The Palais Theatre is located at 12 Lower Esplanade in St Kilda, close to Port Philip Bay and St Kilda beach.

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