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Cultural and community hub at 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick

29 May 2023

Conversations Merri-bek project page

Visit the Conversations Merri-bek project page for the latest updates on the redevelopment of 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick.  You can subscribe to have updates delivered direct to your inbox. 

The information below is intended as a brief overview of the project. Conversations Merri-bek is the main source of information for the project.

Image depicts an artist's impression of the new 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick. The old heritage school building sits in the middle of the image. Two new structures are to the left and right of the school building. Gum trees and foliage sit at the forefront.

Above: artist impression of what the redeveloped site will look like.

Transforming 33 Saxon Street

33 Saxon Street is a well-known and much-loved community and creative space in the heart of Brunswick. It is part of the Civic and Cultural Precinct and the Brunswick Design District and has been home to Siteworks and  Blak Dot Gallery up until late 2022. The site was formerly a school, but the buildings have aged and are no longer fit for purpose. 

The site is now undergoing a significant redevelopment to transform it into a state-of-the-art cultural, creative and accessible hub, with welcoming and affordable spaces for creatives, artists and the Brunswick community.

This involves replacing the existing buildings (except the Heritage House building) and much of the north school building along Phoenix Street. This building will be stripped back and remain as a sculptural shelter in the open space. Heritage House will have renovation additions removed and be restored to its original form. Siteworks and Blak Dot Gallery are expected to return in 2024.

The redevelopment will create approximately 3,500sqm of floorspace, with accessible and functional buildings drawing in visitors to experience a range of community activities and events.

Construction will start in June 2023 with completion anticipated by end 2024.

  • We purchased the site in 2010 when it was home to an old school with large buildings, a heritage house and public open space. In 2016 we appointed These Are The Projects We Do Together, to manage the site as ‘Siteworks’, and with First Nations contemporary art gallery, Blak Dot, created a thriving arts and community hub. This activation provided the vision for the future of 33 Saxon Street.

    The 2017 Strategic Framework set the principles and priorities for the facility, including redevelopment for future use:

    • Creating more affordable arts space
    • Increasing public open space
    • Including a variety of community uses
    • Creating a place to come together and build community.

    After an extensive community engagement process to gather community ideas for the design, a revised design concept for the site was approved in November 2021 with consideration of the strategic framework.

    Planning was lodged in March 2022 and a permit issued in January 2023 (ref MPS/2022/194). Council endorsed the construction tender in December 2022 with construction due to start in June 2023. Completion is expected by the end of 2024.

Reference documents

More information

Visit Conversations Merri-bek and stay up-to-date on how you can be part of this project.