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Testing Grounds

Architect: Millie Cattlin

City of Melbourne | C52

Testing Grounds is a free outdoor space for creative practices encompassing art, performance and design, available for creative, cultural, and education-related activities. Curated through an open application process that encourages interdisciplinary practice, experimentation, and calculated risk, it is a place where people at all levels can test, develop, and share their work. A six-by-six-metre steel grid forms a superstructure and a framework across the site for shelter, public art installations and for distributing power, lighting, data, and water. Initially designed as a low-cost and efficient response to the site, it has the capacity to enable a diversity of uses. Four indoor spaces attached to shipping containers provide residency spaces, galleries, theatres and stages. There is a licensed bar as well. In 1925, the YMCA opened its headquarters on this site but in 1983 structural damage caused by construction of the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall meant that the building needed to be demolished. The land was acquired by the State of Victoria as Crown Land and is reserved for arts purposes. Testing Grounds is a temporary infrastructure project providing an alternative place for art in the arts precinct while the future of the site is being determined.

Need to Know

  • Open: Thursday 3 & Thursday 1 January 10am-4pm

  • What's Open: All parts of the building

  • Special Note: It is a partially outdoor site, prepare for weather

  • Tour Type: C52

  • Access: Pram accessible, Fully accessible

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Facilities: Toilets, Food and beverage available

  • Special Programming: Exhibitions, artist residencies and a coffee cart

  • Year Built: 2016

  • Website:

  • Transport: Tram stop: Arts Precinct on routes 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72


1-23 City Rd, Southbank 3006, VIC


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