The Capitol: a new destination for culture, education and innovation
RMIT has transformed The Capitol into a contemporary centre for cutting-edge tertiary education and a new creative space for Melbourne.
You can feel everyone's excitement when they sit down in The Capitol's seats. It's an experience like nothing else.
It is the most beautiful cinema in the world. The original brief was as a crystalline palace of wonder and it really is that.
It's so magnificent, it creates such a fantastic atmosphere.
My very first documentary film was screened here in 1987. And this beautiful, beautiful setting which just celebrates the nostalgia and the romance of cinema. It could not have been a better place, really.
I remember coming here not really watching the film but staring at the beautiful ceiling and falling in love with the cinema. And it's still got that wonderful connection with the theatre to this day.
My vision for The Capitol is really quite simple. Think of it as education by day and culture by night. A real nod to the past as we celebrate a wonderful icon of the history of Melbourne, but more importantly with a solid view to the future of everything that The Capitol can do, to inspire generations to come.
The Victorian Government is very proud to have contributed 2.5 million dollars for this project. The Capitol is part of what gives Victoria its reputation as a cultural centre and a fantastic place to live.
The restoration of The Capitol is not just an RMIT project. The Capitol is an iconic building in Melbourne. To work on this building is pretty much once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on such an important building. That is the best work of two of the most important architects to ever come to Australia.
Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony were perhaps the most well-known architects in Australia in the early 20th century and The Capitol is their largest commercial work. The Capitol is the first major picture palace to be built in Victoria. The cave-like crystalline plaster work of the auditorium with the concealed lights is a completely unusual expression, both in Australia and worldwide.
RMIT bought The Capitol theatre in the late 90s. The building, despite RMIT having spent money and kept it up throughout the years, was aging and needed a lot of additional care and support.
It is incredibly important that the history of the place is respected.
For months now I have been watching the redevelopment of The Capitol theatre, because my office is directly across the road and it's been wonderful to see all of the activity. And to see it be so beautifully and carefully and lovingly restored down to the minute detail is really an effort that in itself needs to be recognised and applauded.
I think The Capitol offers RMIT something quite extraordinary. It can be new media in an old setting. We have here a 4K projection. We have new high-quality sound production. We have the most amazing lighting scheme up there which are going to activate the ceiling in the most amazing way. So, when people come into this space, they will see a 1920s cinema, but actually what we have is something that faces into the 21st century. But also, people will miss out what's underneath, what's invisible. And primarily, that's the digital link we have up to the CBD campus at RMIT and the wonderful media precinct, the fantastic studios we have.
RMITs vision for it is to look at bringing video art, VR, AR, animation, gaming.
The Capitol will be transformative, because it's all about hands-on experiences for our students. And that's what a contemporary education should be all about. I know The Capitol, moving forward, is going to be seen as this very special place in Melbourne where people will think of it as the most progressive tertiary education space. But also, a wonderful place to imagine, to perform and to create new ideas.
It's actually quite a remarkable piece of fortuitous timing. Just as RMIT has restored The Capitol, ACMI is also undergoing a renewal. We host a range of film festivals, cultural festivals year-round. They are able to come to The Capitol while we're closed and present their rich programs for the people of Melbourne, and the students of RMIT here in this absolutely stunning venue.
We are so proud of RMIT for so thoughtfully and lovingly investing in this treasure of Melbourne.
You can see it all around us now that RMIT brought life and love back into this remarkable building.
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