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Cairns Centre of Contemporary Art

A former government office building was transformed to become the new home of the growing community arts programme in Cairns.

  • Client CoCA & Jute Arts
  • Location Cairns
  • Industry Cultural
  • Completion 2004
  • Cost $2.1M


The Queensland Transport offices constructed in the mid 70’s provided the location to house three of Cairns’ Contemporary arts organisations. For the Theatre Company

Jute, visual arts organisation KickArts and film group End Credits this find represented the culmination of a three year search with Peddle Thorp Architects for a suitable home.

Of the $2.7m in funding obtained from the Millennium Arts Project a budget of $1.8m was available for conversion and fitting out of the building.

Provided within the facility are two A-class galleries, a 250 seat theatre, digital media lab, bar & café, foyer, management offices and ancillary facilities.

The Architects brief was to ensure that ‘the quality of lighting and sound enabled the display of visual and performing arts in the best possible manner’. Building elements that were superficial to this requirement such as floor coverings, ceilings and facade modifications were ruled out.

The result and raw aesthetic has given the facility a unique character that successfully reflects the contemporary aspirations of KickArts, Jute and End Credits and their umbrella organisation of CoCA.


  • 2005 RAIA North Queensland Building of the Year
  • 2005 RAIA Eddie Oribin Award