The iconic Sydney Opera House recently opened a new venue, the first to open ever since 2004. The venue, dubbed the Yallamundi Rooms, is a venue for event hire in Sydney, capable of holding 400 people standing, or 180 people seated.
The new venue is part of a $273 million renewal programme, a joint effort by ARM Architecture, Grimshaw Architects, Scott Carver Architects and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG). This joint effort also includes the redevelopment of the Sydney Opera House’s main concert hall, with work on that particular phase to begin by February 2020.
The Yallamundi Rooms was handled by TZG, which is also responsible for the design of a new creative learning centre inside an extant office space in the House, as well as upgrading the box office and entry foyers, then completing the pedestrianisation of some underused space beneath the Monumental Steps. TZG has already worked on the Opera House’s spaces in the past, having handled the interior design of the Bennelong restaurant back in 2015.
The TZG issued a design statement on the projects, saying that every work was designated as elements with their own positions inside the Opera House, what they consider its own architectural continuum, wherein they’re imbedded in the history of the iconic structure, but still be able to reach out to the future of both the Opera House, and the city.
The refurbishment of the space for event hire in Sydney retained much of what was already there, like the fabric, the off-form concrete, as well as the space’s granite terrazzo floor finish. The space’s “wobblies”, the white birch moulded timber panels in the area, have been moved around in order to create a complete ceiling that hides the services done.
The Sydney Opera House management offered some insight into the project, starting with the choice of name;Yallamundi, which is the local Indigenous word for “storyteller”. According to Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron, this was chosen due to the fact that the Opera House was built on Bennelong Point, known as Tubowgule to the Gadigal, the original inhabitants of the land. For millennia, Herron says, the space has been one for people to gather, feast, dance, sing, and share stories with each other. The Yallamundi Rooms, they say, were built with the intention of continuing this legacy.