Architects Selected for New Outdoor Performance Space
October 13, 2023

Architects Selected for New Outdoor Performance Space


MGS Architects and SBLA Landscape Architects have been selected to design Footscray Community Arts’ new outdoor performance space.  

After their recent work on the Footscray Community Arts Master Plan, MGS Architects and SBLA Studio have been appointed to convert our much-loved but aged bluestone amphitheatre into a space for higher quality outdoor experiences our audiences deserve. MGS Architects will design a flexible event space with durable weather protection, accessibility considerations and sophisticated technical infrastructure. Together with Footscray Community Arts’ Indigenous Advisory Group, SBLA Studio will lead the Indigenisation of the landscape, expanding and improving the riverside greenspace. 

Left to right: Katie Hall MP, Daniel Santangeli (FCA), Simone Bliss (SBLA), Joshua Wheeler (MGS Architects), Bec Cole (FCA)

MGS Architects bring their socially-engaged, fully integrated design practice specialising in urban and architectural design to the next stage of the project. With expertise in precinct masterplans, community engagement, and arts and education spaces, their portfolio includes projects such as the performing arts centre for Mill Park Secondary College, Museum of Australian Photography (MAPh) and Wheelers Hill Library, Balwyn Park Community Hub, and Bendigo Library.  

“We are excited to support and work with Footscray Community Arts to provide an engaging space for all communities to enjoy the precinct.” Joshua Wheeler, Director of MGS Architects said. 

SBLA Studio specialises in landscape architecture and urban design, integrating art, history, ecology and play to craft immersive, and meaningful landscapes. With their projects prioritising people, environmental and social well-being, some of SBLA Studio notable works include; the Collingwood Arts Precinct, Monash Gallery of Art, Bendigo Tafe Public Realm redevelopment and with organisations including First Nations Communities and Councils, Hobart Women’s’ Shelter and Social Housing Groups.  

“We are thrilled to be working with Footscray Community Arts and feel very fortunate to work side by side with the surrounding community. Working on the new precinct plan means supporting a legacy by creating inclusive and inviting spaces.” Simone Bliss and Ross Privetelli from SBLA Studio, connected to the Westie community, are very much looking forward to contributing to this project.

The Footscray Community Arts precinct sits right by the Maribyrnong River and is a popular destination for local communities. 

The fresh outdoor performance area will harmoniously blend with Melbourne’s Western landscape, featuring various green spaces aimed at rejuvenating and enlivening the surroundings. This exciting development also means our program of diverse and captivating events is only set to grow. That is why the design reflects our commitment to reducing noise for our neighbours. 

“This is an exciting moment for Footscray Community Arts and marks a new chapter.” Katie Hall MP Labour Member for Footscray says.  

“I was enormously proud to work with the team at Footscray Community Arts to secure the funding to upgrade the outdoor performance space – to ensure it can continue to be loved and enjoyed by our community for generations to come.” 

With the project guided by our Indigenous Advisory Group and continuously shaped through extensive consultations with artists and the community, the new outdoor performance venue symbolizes our dedication to inclusivity for both audiences and artists. 

“We are thrilled to appoint MGS Architects and SBLA Studio on the design of our outdoor performance space,” says Footscray Community Arts Artistic Director and Co-CEO Daniel Santangeli.  

“The work of these incredible architects will propel our evolution forward as we continue our 50-year legacy of enabling social justice through creativity.” 


In May 2022, the Victorian State Government committed a landmark $8.7 million to support our precinct transformation. MGS and SBLA will be joining an existing team led by Project Director RP Infrastructure (NGV: The Fox; Melbourne Museum’s Gandel Gondwana Park; ACMI) and working closely with our partners Maribyrnong City Council and Creative Victoria. Read more.

Image credits: Gianna Rizzo, Bluestone Sessions 2023