The Hedberg

The Hedberg presents an unprecedented ambition for a significant performing and creative arts destination in Hobart.
Project Name
The Hedberg Performing Arts Precinct
Case Study Type

19-27 Campbell St
Hobart TAS 7000

Photographer Details
Natasha Mulhall


The designers took advantage of the inherent value and sustainable properties of timber as a tool for representing the unique narrative of place and culture at The Hedberg.

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Material choices were influenced directly by identifying local fabricating capabilities. The result of the research was to use industrial-grade materials, but in a high-end capacity.

Cross laminated timber (CLT) slabs were used for primary wall and ceiling linings across performance venues and structural floors in the practice and rehearsal rooms. Not only this, but the CLT was made from New Zealand plantation grown radiata pine, as opposed to the typical European import panels. Compared to concrete, the material usually chosen for larger buildings, CLT stores carbon, rather than emitting large amounts of it, greatly reduces the building’s embodied carbon.

The CLT timber ‘slabs’ are made up of multiple layers of structural timber oriented at different directions to provide multidirectional strength. These particular slabs were made up of 3 layers of timber. The CLT had positive impacts on time efficiencies of erection, saving an estimated 12 weeks compared to precast concrete. This material had never been used before for this application and was tested in lab conditions by CSIRO to ensure acoustic suitability.

The CLT panels in the performance space walls were lined with acoustic diffusion paneling, so did not require stringent appearance criterion. The CLT offcuts were sculpted into a modulating pattern for the Recording Suite and Salon diffusion panels. The timber panel arrangement consists of repeated modules rotated and randomly applied, evoking minimalist music notation methods. These patterns exposed the structural layering of timber in the CLT, allowing the material that would otherwise be hidden to be showcased.

Materials and artefacts such as the Oregon structural beams of the Hedberg Garage warehouse were salvaged from demolition and archaeological excavation. The salvaged timber was recycled to make use of the existing rough sawn texture for acoustic diffusion and to also integrate stories of the history of the site within the building.


Panellised diffusive timber fins made from stained birch plywood form the acoustic wall linings in the recital hall, including the laser cut diffusion screen behind the concert platform. Stained Tasmanian plywood is used as diffusive acoustic panel ‘boxes’ in the Studio Theatre.

Tasmanian structural plywood with recycled timber are made into modular acoustic panels in the Salon. Radiata pine CLT offcuts are integrated into the Recording Suite acoustic panels forming the rear diffusion wall. Tasmanian blackwood veneer panels line the ceiling of the foyer and front of house spaces.

The ceiling of The Hedberg foyer spaces are lined with Tasmanian blackwood veneer. Tasmanian blackwood veneer provides warmth and a sense of place-based identity to the spaces. Blackwood is a slow growing Tasmanian eucalypt. Final harvest of the timber can take more than 50 years, making veneer a more cost effective and sustainable alternative to using solid sections of the timber.

The modulating timber wall panels of the Salon and Recording Suite minimise the cost and environmental impact of the performance venues, while providing optimal acoustic experiences. The rough sawn recycled timber from the previous Hedberg Garage and the perforated plywood provide diffusion of high frequency instruments, while the larger proportion of the space caters to low frequency sounds.

The team worked closely with fabricators to sculpt recycled timber ‘insertions’, using the recycled Oregon timber, as well as low value archaeological findings such as broken ceramic bottles, sandstone material and recycled bricks from the existing warehouse demolition. These panels integrate the history of the site throughout the building, deepening an understanding of place.

Prototyping was a big part of testing opportunities. The computer routed pattern provides scale to the large volumes of space. The perforations in veneer ceiling panels also provide acoustic absorption, enabling opportunities for performances, events and media activation to plug in and interact vertically across the levels.

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