Walk into Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre at West End and you immediately feel relaxed. I have joked that each time I visit I feel like checking in because it has the charm and ambience of a luxury boutique hotel. It just feels good and it turns out it is also good for you.

The $100million renovation championed by former artistic director Li Cunxin and executive director Dilshani Weerasinghe works in more ways than one. Now Queensland Ballet (QB) has become the first performing arts organisation in the world to become WELL Certified (by the International WELL Building Institute) at the Platinum level, for its revamped home, the now swish Thomas Dixon Centre. So, it’s a healthy building as well as a gorgeous one.

Ten years in the making, the development involved a complex restoration of the heritage-listed building, adaptive re-use of its spaces, and the addition of contemporary new facilities, including the 351 seat Talbot Theatre, six dance studios, wellness suite, dancer facilities, fully accessible amenities, a rooftop terrace, bar, restaurant and three public artworks.

The WELL Building Standard is an evidence-based, performance certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with policy and operational strategies. The Thomas Dixon Centre earned the distinction based on ten concepts — Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Movement, Thermal Performance, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community.

In other words, it has it all and Dilshani Weerasinghe says the certification is a tremendous accomplishment for a not-for-profit organisation.

“The achievement of WELL Certification at the Platinum level is a result of relentless dedication of many visionaries and partners, demonstrating our commitment to the wellbeing of all those who interact with the Thomas Dixon Centre,” Ms Weerasinghe says. “That means artists, arts workers, arts students, participants in our dance health programs, and our wider community.

“Rare projects such as this one require a rare team, tenacious, bold and generous.”

Ms Weerasinghe acknowledged a long list of people including Li Cunxin, board chair Brett Clark, the Department of Housing, Local Government, Planning and Public Works, visionary donors, and Capital Partners xburo engineers led by Ellis Wilson, Hansen Yuncken, David Gole and Tamarind Taylor from Architectus Conrad Gargett, and QB’s Director of Precincts and Capital Projects, Lucas Gilroy.

Reflecting on the partnership with Queensland Ballet, lead architect Tamarind Taylor and project director David Gole say the Thomas Dixon Centre journey was one that Architectus Conrad Gargett (formerly Conrad Gargett) were privileged to be involved in a project that “embodied a vision of wellness in the use and life of the building”.

International WELL Building Institute Vice President Asia Pacific, Jack Noonan, applauded the gong.

“Congratulations to Queensland Ballet for becoming the first performing arts organisation in the world to become WELL Certified at the Platinum level for the Thomas Dixon Centre,” Mr Noonan says. “This is an iconic and unique project internationally. We applaud the leadership in prioritising the wellbeing of performers, students, faculty, and the community it serves.”

The Thomas Dixon Centre is a pioneering precinct, highlighting the importance of human-centered design. The aim was to create healthy spaces to support the best performance and production outcomes, as well as enhancing community engagement.

The Thomas Dixon Centre will be open to the public during Brisbane Open House on the weekend of July 13 – 14.

Anyone interested in touring the Thomas Dixon Centre, can book online at thomasdixoncentre.com.au



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