A new Cultural & Civic Space for the heart of Coffs Harbour

Cultural & Civic Space - ALL WELCOME!

The Cultural and Civic Precinct project has taken another step in its exciting journey with the preliminary schematic design now available for public information.

The design team from architects BVN have been working on a preliminary schematic design that considers the elements from previous engagement activities that provided Council with a very clear picture about what the community were looking for in this facility.

With an overarching theme of ‘All Welcome’, this preliminary schematic design has six strong principles that support the decision-making processes for the building design. Each building element will also match the desired experiences to ‘gather, create and discover’ in this reimagined space to combine arts, community and culture.

This phase of the project has seen key stakeholders working with the design team to help develop draft schematic designs that include the all the elements to deliver that earlier vision.

Influenced by Coffs Harbour’s unique environment - the sea, the harbour, the fig tree, the sense of place - this exciting building form is shaped to promote the idea of all welcome and to be readily apparent on the Coffs Harbour skyline.

This draft schematic design will be available for public information from 10 to 31 May 2019.

Find a display from 10-31 May at:

  • Coffs Harbour City Council

  • Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

  • Harry Bailey Memorial Library

  • Toormina Library

  • Woolgoolga Library

Or visit a display stand and meet the project team at:

Coffs Central Shopping Centre

Wednesday, 15 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Moonee Beach Market Place

Thursday, 23 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Toormina Gardens

Friday 31 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Subject to approval, this work could be followed by a detailed design step and then construction, with project completion possible in 2022.


Cultural & Civic Space - ALL WELCOME!

The Cultural and Civic Precinct project has taken another step in its exciting journey with the preliminary schematic design now available for public information.

The design team from architects BVN have been working on a preliminary schematic design that considers the elements from previous engagement activities that provided Council with a very clear picture about what the community were looking for in this facility.

With an overarching theme of ‘All Welcome’, this preliminary schematic design has six strong principles that support the decision-making processes for the building design. Each building element will also match the desired experiences to ‘gather, create and discover’ in this reimagined space to combine arts, community and culture.

This phase of the project has seen key stakeholders working with the design team to help develop draft schematic designs that include the all the elements to deliver that earlier vision.

Influenced by Coffs Harbour’s unique environment - the sea, the harbour, the fig tree, the sense of place - this exciting building form is shaped to promote the idea of all welcome and to be readily apparent on the Coffs Harbour skyline.

This draft schematic design will be available for public information from 10 to 31 May 2019.

Find a display from 10-31 May at:

  • Coffs Harbour City Council

  • Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

  • Harry Bailey Memorial Library

  • Toormina Library

  • Woolgoolga Library

Or visit a display stand and meet the project team at:

Coffs Central Shopping Centre

Wednesday, 15 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Moonee Beach Market Place

Thursday, 23 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Toormina Gardens

Friday 31 May

9:00am – 3:00pm

Subject to approval, this work could be followed by a detailed design step and then construction, with project completion possible in 2022.


  • May Project Newsletter

    9 days ago
    Project brochure page 1





















  • MEDIA RELEASE: Exciting new vision for Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space

    17 days ago
    Image for hys updates

    Coffs Harbour City Council has released a preliminary Schematic Design for the proposed Cultural and Civic Space for the Coffs Harbour region.

    Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight says the release of this unique building design is a welcome step forward, providing more space for our central library, regional gallery and museum, and centralised council facilities to bring life, vibrancy and economic benefits to the Heart of the City.

    “This preliminary schematic design has been produced from the consultation with Coffs Harbour residents and key stakeholders in 2018 which indicated they were seeking an environmentally sustainable and efficient ‘statement’ building...

    Coffs Harbour City Council has released a preliminary Schematic Design for the proposed Cultural and Civic Space for the Coffs Harbour region.

    Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight says the release of this unique building design is a welcome step forward, providing more space for our central library, regional gallery and museum, and centralised council facilities to bring life, vibrancy and economic benefits to the Heart of the City.

    “This preliminary schematic design has been produced from the consultation with Coffs Harbour residents and key stakeholders in 2018 which indicated they were seeking an environmentally sustainable and efficient ‘statement’ building that reflects the place we all call home,” she said.

    The design team from architects BVN has been working on a preliminary schematic design that considers the elements from previous engagement activities that provided Council with a very clear picture about what the community were looking for in this facility.

    This phase of the project has seen key stakeholders working with the design team to help develop draft schematic designs that include the elements to deliver that earlier vision.

    With an overarching theme of ‘All Welcome’, this preliminary schematic design has six strong principles that support the decision-making processes for the building design. Each building element will also match the desired experiences to ‘gather, create and discover’ in this reimagined space to combine arts, community and culture.

    Read the full media release here.
  • The Journey to date

    3 months ago
    Coffs harbour ccs journey map a2

    Where we have come from often defines where we are going. Take a look at the fascinating evolution of the community, learning and cultural facilities in the Coffs Harbour LGA.

    Where we have come from often defines where we are going. Take a look at the fascinating evolution of the community, learning and cultural facilities in the Coffs Harbour LGA.

  • Award-winning Architect from Coffs Selected for Cultural Space Design

    4 months ago
    Matthew blair photo

    Architectural firm BVN – whose recent projects include the new Australian Embassy in Bangkok and the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney – have won the contract to design Coffs Harbour’s new Cultural and Civic Space in the CBD.

    The design team will be led by BVN Principal Matthew Blair who grew up in Coffs Harbour and went to Coffs Harbour High School. Matthew brings a local understanding and awareness to the project, along with his experience working across Australia and internationally on public, commercial, education and other projects. He is passionate about Coffs and its potential and sees...

    Architectural firm BVN – whose recent projects include the new Australian Embassy in Bangkok and the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney – have won the contract to design Coffs Harbour’s new Cultural and Civic Space in the CBD.

    The design team will be led by BVN Principal Matthew Blair who grew up in Coffs Harbour and went to Coffs Harbour High School. Matthew brings a local understanding and awareness to the project, along with his experience working across Australia and internationally on public, commercial, education and other projects. He is passionate about Coffs and its potential and sees this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a positive contribution to his home town.

    “BVN will bring a fresh set of eyes to this project with no preconceptions of the design, but an awareness and understanding of the community effort that has gone into the project to date,” said Matthew. “We recognise the opportunities and challenges of the project – the ability to be a catalyst to re-energise the precinct between Harbour Drive and Coffs Creek, to help make a definable Civic Heart in the middle of town, to work with an engaged, active community with diverse aspirations and needs, and to compose a large, complex brief of many different types of places into a physical manifestation the idea and identity of Coffs Harbour.

    “We are enthusiastic, curious, skilled and driven to create a magnificent place in Coffs Harbour. We want to work with Coffs Harbour City Council and all stakeholders to make this happen.”

    Matthew will be working with fellow BVN principal Kevin O’Brien, who brings a deep understanding of design for place and culture through his work as an architect and from his indigenous heritage. Kevin is currently wrapping up work to deliver the new Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Western Sydney. Matthew and Kevin will work with their strong team of architects, interior designers and organisational experts to understand and deliver the project.

    The Cultural and Civic Space will incorporate a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, parking, workshops and makers studios, public art, a café, small events space and technology resources.

    “Having BVN on board is a fantastic result for the project, the community and the city,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight. “Matthew brings invaluable local knowledge and the entire BVN team really understands how important it is to engage with the community to create a Cultural and Civic Space that will offer opportunities and facilities for all.”

    BVN is an award-winning Australian architectural practice with vast experience in cultural and civic projects such as Woollahra Library in Sydney and the Museums Discovery Centre for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Castle Hill.

    The schematic design created by BVN is due to be completed for public comment by May 2019 and the proposed detailed design is expected to be finished by May 2020.


  • What Is the Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space Project? - February Newsletter

    4 months ago
    Coffs harbour ccs webbanner

    The Coffs Harbour Civic and Cultural Space is being designed to combine arts, community and culture to create a lively community, civic and learning hub for a vibrant and active City Centre.

    There has been great progress made on this exciting project, read the Mayor’s Message and Project Newsletter for more details.


    The Coffs Harbour Civic and Cultural Space is being designed to combine arts, community and culture to create a lively community, civic and learning hub for a vibrant and active City Centre.

    There has been great progress made on this exciting project, read the Mayor’s Message and Project Newsletter for more details.


  • Wishing you a Merry Christmas

    5 months ago
    Beautiful merry christmas artwork wallpaper 4849


    As the year is drawing to a close we thought we should wrap up with a summary of where the Cultural and Civic Space Project is up to.

    We have engaged Project Managers and Workplace Strategists, and they have been working hard behind the scenes. We will have engaged the Lead Design Consultant (Architect), Services Engineers, Civil & Structural Engineers, Planning Consultant and Aborist by the end of January.

    The office is closed from the 24th of December to the 1st January inclusive. We wish you a very Merry and safe Christmas and New Year with family and friends.






    As the year is drawing to a close we thought we should wrap up with a summary of where the Cultural and Civic Space Project is up to.

    We have engaged Project Managers and Workplace Strategists, and they have been working hard behind the scenes. We will have engaged the Lead Design Consultant (Architect), Services Engineers, Civil & Structural Engineers, Planning Consultant and Aborist by the end of January.

    The office is closed from the 24th of December to the 1st January inclusive. We wish you a very Merry and safe Christmas and New Year with family and friends.





  • The next stage is underway!!

    6 months ago
    Cultural and civic space november update

    The Cultural and Civic Space Project has been a very busy space over the last month. Since our last update an External Project Manager has been engaged, Turner & Townsend Thinc (T&TT) for Schematic Design and preparation of the Development Application. With extensive experience in delivering projects of this type, size and complexity in Regional Australia they have hit the ground running. The T&TT leads for the project, Fergal O’Donovan and Orla Conlon, recently conducted a detailed 3-day site visit and met with key primary stakeholders. They are working on contracts to procure many of the key roles including Architect,...

    The Cultural and Civic Space Project has been a very busy space over the last month. Since our last update an External Project Manager has been engaged, Turner & Townsend Thinc (T&TT) for Schematic Design and preparation of the Development Application. With extensive experience in delivering projects of this type, size and complexity in Regional Australia they have hit the ground running. The T&TT leads for the project, Fergal O’Donovan and Orla Conlon, recently conducted a detailed 3-day site visit and met with key primary stakeholders. They are working on contracts to procure many of the key roles including Architect, Town Planner, other design and planning specialists with a clear view of having these roles in place early in the New Year. The Schematic Design phase has started!

    What is Schematic Design?

    Schematic design is the next phase in the project. In this phase, the architect works with the client to determine the project requirements and goals. Schematic Design often produces rough drawings of a site plan, floor plans, elevations and often illustrative sketches or computer renderings. At the end of this stage we will have a view of what the design will look like and the Development Application will be prepared for Council approval prior to lodgement.

    Recently appointed to the Project Team is Elise Petty who joins Council as Projects Officer working across the project, however her primary role will be Stakeholder & Community Engagement and Communication.

    A Grant Application has been submitted to the Federal Government for $10 Million under the Building Better Regions Fund Round 3 – Infrastructure Projects Stream. With 2 applications for funding now submitted we hope to hear back in the next month in relation to the first of these.


  • Project update October 2018

    7 months ago

    It has been a very productive month since the 13 September Council resolution regarding the way the project approaches the market for consulting services and construction of the building (i.e. method of procurement) and funding to parallel process Schematic Design and the preparation of the Development Application. These changes have expedited the project in line with Council’s resolution on 14 June in a way that:

    • Does not increase the overall project budget
    • Protects the delivery of outcomes for Council and the community
    • Offers a prudent approach to execution of the project
    • Is in accordance with the procurement requirements of NSW...

    It has been a very productive month since the 13 September Council resolution regarding the way the project approaches the market for consulting services and construction of the building (i.e. method of procurement) and funding to parallel process Schematic Design and the preparation of the Development Application. These changes have expedited the project in line with Council’s resolution on 14 June in a way that:

    • Does not increase the overall project budget
    • Protects the delivery of outcomes for Council and the community
    • Offers a prudent approach to execution of the project
    • Is in accordance with the procurement requirements of NSW Local Government

    Two grant proposals were submitted to NSW Government in September. One is a $9m application to Regional Cultural Fund Round 2, the other is an expression of interest to Regional Growth, Environment & Tourism Fund Round 2 for $5m.

    A request for tender has been issued and evaluated to procure the services of an external project manager for the rest of this financial year.

    In the coming weeks the project will go to market for the services of an architect, town planner and other design and planning specialists. This will enable design and development application work through into 2019 when the design will emerge so we can all start to see what the space will be like.


  • Council meeting 13 Sep to consider resources to expedite the project

    9 months ago

    On 14 June 2018, Council resolved to progress the Cultural and Civic Space project to the next design phase (i.e. Schematic Design). The resolution also states that “In progressing the Cultural and Civic Space project, ensure that resources available to the project are applied in the most efficient manner to ensure the project is expedited”.

    A report to Council scheduled for Thursday September 13th recommends a method of procurement and management of contracts to efficiently apply resources to expedite delivery of the Cultural and Civic Space project and the funding stream required to implement that recommendation. The meeting is...

    On 14 June 2018, Council resolved to progress the Cultural and Civic Space project to the next design phase (i.e. Schematic Design). The resolution also states that “In progressing the Cultural and Civic Space project, ensure that resources available to the project are applied in the most efficient manner to ensure the project is expedited”.

    A report to Council scheduled for Thursday September 13th recommends a method of procurement and management of contracts to efficiently apply resources to expedite delivery of the Cultural and Civic Space project and the funding stream required to implement that recommendation. The meeting is open to the public and you are welcome to attend.

    Please click here for the agenda and papers.
  • International Best-Selling Author Recognises Importance of Libraries

    11 months ago
    Snapshot 6

    International best-selling author Michael Robotham chatted with the Coffs Harbour Libraries team on his last visit to Coffs, where he lived in his teenage years. With the exciting news that Councillors have voted to move forward with the project for a new library as part of a cultural & civic space for Coffs Harbour, we share here a short video interview about Michael's appreciation of the importance of libraries. Thanks Michael!



    International best-selling author Michael Robotham chatted with the Coffs Harbour Libraries team on his last visit to Coffs, where he lived in his teenage years. With the exciting news that Councillors have voted to move forward with the project for a new library as part of a cultural & civic space for Coffs Harbour, we share here a short video interview about Michael's appreciation of the importance of libraries. Thanks Michael!