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High performance
December 30, 2023

The Thomas Dixon Centre has been home to Queensland Ballet for over 30 years. A recent multi-million dollar refurbishment has transformed the heritage-listed building into a world-class performing arts precinct.

Originally built as a shoe factory in 1908, the two-storey red brick building on Montague Road in Brisbane’s West End was designed by renowned Brisbane architect Richard Gailey.

The factory remained with Thomas C. Dixon & Sons until the mid-1970s, after which it was purchased by the Queensland Government and eventually became home to Queensland Ballet in 1991.

In 2019, the Queensland Government, in consultation with Queensland Ballet, commenced the transformation of the Thomas Dixon Centre into a world-class arts and cultural destination for Brisbane, including new 350-plus seat theatre, dance studios, hospitality spaces including a rooftop terrace and enhanced office, production and wellness spaces.

Designed by architect Conrad Gargett, the precinct has been reimagined whilst retaining the original heritage-listed factory at its heart. The project also aimed to achieve Platinum WELL Building Standard accreditation by prioritising the health and wellness of residents and visitors in the building design.

Working with builder Hansen Yuncken, Ellis Air was awarded the mechanical services contract through a competitive tender process and commenced on site in 2020.

This work included the construction of a centralised chilled water system with primary and secondary circuits to serve different areas of the precinct.

The new plant features high performance air-cooled Clint chillers and a number of fans supplied by Fantech, which were specified by consulting engineer XBURO.

Prior to design finalisation, a number of enhancements were made to the mechanical services design, resulting in changes to fan selection to meet performance and airflow requirements.

“Due to the building being heritage listed, and the size and space constraints plus acoustic considerations, our team did a lot of work with Ellis Air in reselecting equipment to meet the project requirements,” says Kent Taylor, Sales Supervisor at Fantech Queensland.

Attenuators were also added as part of the Ellis Air final design to ensure mechanical services plant met the strict noise requirements for performance spaces.

“I have a good relationship with Fantech, and they assisted our engineering staff with selection and support,” says Peter Cahill, Senior Project Manager at Ellis Air.

After ten years in the making, the redevelopment of the Thomas Dixon Centre and Queensland Ballet’s headquarters was completed in mid-2022.


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