The economy was in uncertain economic times amidst the Global Financial Crisis. The club marketplace was also in an unstable environment with political pressure on poker machine gaming.
However, despite these unique circumstances and based on their
stable trading history, the Board and the management of the Cabravale Diggers Club embarked on significant redevelopment program for their premises. This recent program was the largest design and construct building project the club had undertaken in its 85 year history.
The Club has its origins in 1925 when a group of two dozen ex-service men decided to form the Club. Today, it is able to celebrate its’ history and success with a venue that has been cleaverly remodeled and expanded. It caters for its’ multicultural clientele offering the members, guests and visitors a greater choice of social activity in this multifaceted entertainment centre.
“The concept for the design was to amplify the arrival and overall experience at the Club by merging the indoor and outdoor spaces, capturing the unique assets of the club’s location and repositioning the club with a unique identity” explains Mark Thebridge from Group GSA.
Before the redevelopment the patron would arrive at the club through a bitumen carpark. Now they are invited through a landscape setting that heightens their experience and celebrates the entry to the club.
Structured gardens, robust timber structures and feature stone walls combined with detailed paved surfaces to formulate this sumptuous outdoor environment.
On entering the club “pathways” usher the patrons to the food, the lounge, the courtyards, the karaoke, the tab, the function, the poker, the bowls, the gaming, the bar and so forth. The distinguishing quality of the internal spaces is how they merge seamlessly with the 2 outdoor lounges, 3 outdoor courtyard areas and enjoy the vistas
across the bowling greens and the parkland opposite.
Each space has its own unique character and yet is part of the same whole. Common elements are manipulated through the use of colour, texture and scale to achieve this outcome. New areas blend effortlessly with existing ones, providing the patrons with exciting new opportunities for experiences within.
The bars feature stone cladding, solid timber, coloured glass and tinted reflective surfaces. Bulkheads with patterned ceilings, timber trims and edge lighting float above to reinforce the significance of these feature elements in the design.
The walls, and some ceilings, are subtlety patterned with wallpaper panels, timber battening, decorative paintwork and feature lighting to produce simply stunning effects.
The undeniable outcome is a sophisticated and flexible environment that caters for the cross section of patrons that Cabra-vale Diggers Club entertains.
David Griffin from James Clifford Constructions has a long term sustained working partnership with the Cabra-Vale Diggers Club. He notes that “this is a great outcome for the Club. We have worked closely with the Club and the design team to formulate a standout product. It provides a sensational platform from which the Club can grow their business.”
Sustainable initiatives were integral in the design outcomes for the Club. The client was attuned to the growing social responsibility to produce “green” focused solutions. They were keen to understand how their project could embrace these initiatives in the design.
Some of the key initiatives inherent in the final design include:
- Recycled timber is featured in the external walls and for the arbor structures
- Underground water storage tank for the landscape and bowling green watering
- Computer controlled energy management systems
- Energy efficient lighting
- 100% outside air conditioning systems
- Water saving devices in amenities areas
Haron Robson were commissioned by James Clifford Constructions to enhance the ambience and improve the audio-visual systems during the refurbishment of the auditorium, with the scope of works extending to the adjacent bar and toilet facilities.
The auditorium plays host to a range of regular live entertainment, shows and promotions, in addition to the ever-popular bingo. The area is used both day and night, and it had to be a practical space for all uses, whilst retaining the ‘warmth’ for which the club has become renown - the board of directors take pride in the fact that the multi-cultural community feel at home within its walls and it has been a gathering place for friends and family for almost a century.
With this in mind, the brief for the Haron Robson creative lighting, audio-visual and electrical engineering teams was to enhance the space with both ambient and task lighting, to install audio, video and stage lighting systems and to ensure the electrical requirements of all systems were addressed economically. With uncertainty over gaming tax legislation impacting on budgets, the AV team re-used existing equipment where practical and the lighting designers researched tirelessly to ensure luminaire fittings were aesthetically appropriate to the overall design, whilst being cost-effective to install and service.
Haron Robson’s creative lighting design studio Lightmatters worked in collaboration with Group GSA to ensure the architect’s creative vision was realised, whilst not compromising the practicality of this multi-purpose function space. With the need to provide high-light levels for daytime use, stage lighting, nightclub lighting effects and safety lighting, the decision was taken to incorporate all these functions as the starting point, and build the creative lighting design around them.
The design concept meant Haron Robson’s creative lighting designers were faced with many features to enhance, practical fittings to accommodate and a variety of surfaces to illuminate. The most prominent feature in the auditorium is the ceiling decoration; wide strips of wood-veneered ‘ribbons’ creating undulating waves across the length of the space. Concealed pendant downlights have been installed between the curves; this complements the feature and has helped enhance the effect of depth. These fittings also provide the high-light levels required for day-time use.
The fabric-covered wall panels were illuminated with wall wash, with one spotlight per panel to provide a scalloped effect. Metal-clad, mushroom-shaped wall lights were also specified, providing additional lighting and decorative interest, which could be used in conjunction with the light-washing or independently, to provide a focal point to the room. The vandal-proof metal diffuser at the front of the fitting provides an additional surface on which the nightclub lighting can reflect when the luminaire is off, and the halo effect when lit provides a warm glow, like a radiant, flaring sun.
The bar area, sectioned off from the main auditorium with glass walls, is illuminated by recessed, dimmable low-voltage downlights, which have the effect of creating a destination of this functional space, but without intruding onto the main auditorium with distracting overspill lighting. The stone-finish bartop is subtly highlighted with the task-lighting and the marble-effect panels behind the bar are backlit, providing a warm glow, a constant focal point, even when the bar lights are dimmed during performances.
The lighting concept in the ladies toilet facilities called for feature wall lights over the sinks, with the retro-style fittings providing a funky vibe. Coupled with cove-lighting above the mirrors and concealed linear lighting details over the basin, these spaces are functional, whilst not being austere or ‘cold’.
All of the new lighting is controlled by an intelligent ‘Dynalite’ lighting control system. This provides switching and dimming control of all the luminaires and has been fully integrated into the clubs existing lighting controls.
The stage lighting system was designed to support live entertainment, stage shows and presentation for a single speaker.
Lighting Rigging: three x 3-metre motorised circular aluminium trusses were suspended from the ceiling immediately in front of the proscenium. The three rings overlap, similar to a famous five-ring logo, and have the facility to tilt, raise and lower for effect and also for ease of servicing and re-rigging.
The pre-existing 10 metre trusses from above the stage apron were removed and refitted with chain blocks above the main stage. Power and DMX cabling has been reticulated via integrated cable management systems.
Mounted on these circular trusses were the following light fittings: eight Martin SmartMAC fittings, eight Martin MAC250 Entour fittings and twenty-four DMX controlled Pro Shop Tri-colour LED MultiPAR fittings. A further twenty-four TriColour LED MultiPAR fittings were mounted on the stage bars and another ten SmartMACs were mounted on the side walls to provide effect washes on the ceiling panels and walls throughout the room.
A grandMA ultra-light console with a grandMA wingboard was included to control all seventy-two intelligent light fittings with 720 DMX channels.
The replacement of the original PAR64 lighting rig with the new LED and moving head lights has reduced the potential power consumption from 192 amps to 60 amps. This equates to a 68% reduction in energy costs and with the planned increase in electricity costs, this amounts to a huge saving for the Club.
The existing Meyer sound reinforcement system was designed to support speech and music sound reproduction, both live and pre-recorded, with new inputs for laptop, DVD and VCR sources from a number of locations. The video system was designed to distribute a number of sources to a number of different display devices, to support live performance and presentation.
The paging system required a speaker network throughout the auditorium to replace to two horn-loaded boxes on the rear wall with speakers that provide higher fidelity and intelligibility.
Because of the continuing sound problems, a noise monitoring system was designed. Additionally, a sound-limiting system was designed after the initial phase of the project. This system provides a hard-knee limiter that can be preset and locked.
The existing PTZ Camera was reinstalled in a central location, with the output split into the Video Matrix for local distribution and channelised for distribution via the Club’s MATV System.
Video display panels: The two existing 63” Plasma Panels remained on the side walls to enable the access of any of the video sources via the Matrices.
The AV System includes three video projectors ceiling-mounted in the AV booth at the rear of the venue (for easy access) using long-throw zoom lenses to project onto the three video screens and are able to access any of the video sources via the matrices.
The existing large format video screen was removed and refitted the proscenium arch, so that it drops in front of any band equipment located on the stage. Motorised Video Screens were mounted adjacent to the left and right speaker drops on either side of the proscenium.
VGA and stereo audio patch points (via twisted pair cable, transmitters and receivers) were located on wallplates on either side of the proscenium arch. VGA is patched via a VGA Matrix to the Display Devices. Video sources were up-scaled to VGA and then distributed via the VGA Matrix.
The new devices were integrated into the existing Crestron control system, which has been laid over a system that can be operated manually. All devices (including motorised Video Screens) have manual back-up.