Fostering arts education: Madeleine Centre for Music and the Performing Arts

Posted on Jul 23, 2021

One of our favourite projects, the Madeleine Centre for the Performing Arts provides flexible indoor and outdoor performance and learning spaces for Genazzano FCJ College in Kew, Melbourne. As specialists in education design, H2o Architects focus on creating spaces that both enhance the learning experience for students and offer opportunities for community-building.


As one of Australia’s oldest Catholic schools for girls, the new professional-level performing arts centre marked a significant development for the college, and importantly, reinforced the school’s profile as leaders in music and performing arts education. The centre features both indoor and outdoor spaces, including a 450-seat auditorium, orchestra pit, music rooms, multi-purpose foyer spaces and gallery, and outdoor courtyards.


Contemporary in appearance, yet formal in its planning, the design provides a deliberately simple counterpoint to the heritage neo-gothic building opposite. To the north, a light-filled courtyard becomes part of the music school, with flexible indoor spaces opening up to the outdoors in summer and taking advantage of the low sun in winter.


Following the completion of Genazzano’s performing arts centre, we designed the school’s new Early Learning Centre. Over the past decade, H2o Architects has delivered high quality, award-winning education projects across Australia, from early learning and primary, through to secondary, TAFE and university. Our current education projects include The Friends’ School redevelopment in Hobart, the soon-to-be completed Flinders University Biodiversity Facility in South Australia, and the new McKinnon Secondary School gymnasium.


The Madeleine Centre for Music and the Performing Arts, named after the foundress of the Sisters FCJ, Marie Madeleine d’Houet. Photo by Trevor Mein.