The East Sydney Community and Arts Centre (formerly Heffron Hall) can be viewed as part of a continuous public domain running from the Albert Sloss Reserve at the north, to the newly restored Burton Street Tabernacle Theatre at the south. The project was seen as an opportunity to improve the physical and visual access across this domain and to map a continuous creative terrain that embraces all activities from the theatre of the Tabernacle Hall and Burton Street to the recreation of Albert Sloss Reserve; all via Heffron Hall as the linking element.
The existing brickwork clad 1970s hall was stripped back to reveal the essential concrete framed structure and then infilled with new community functions including a hall/rehearsal space and out-of-hours-school care. The original structural frame remains visible from Palmer Street, and through the relatively transparent Community Hall spaces of both the upper and lower levels, with the existing three metre wide setback from Burton Street infilled to provide a glazed ‘urban threshold’ void linking the two levels.
The design provides for direct views through the building to the redesigned Albert Sloss Reserve, by Spackman Mossop Michaels landscape architects, which was also a part of the project.