Vancouver Arts Centre, 85 Vancouver Street
The former Albany Cottage Hospital was built in 1887 by the Public Works Department, to the design of British architect George Temple Poole who was government superintendent of public works at that time. The building typifies the style of public buildings built by Poole during the late 1880s. Its design follows a contemporary movement of architects, such as Edwin Lutyens, who drew influence from the English cottage.
It was built using walls of dressed local limestone and a roof of split jarrah shingled, with turrets, ornamental woodwork and a keen concern for grouping and composition of all elements of the building. It was extended in the late 1930s and again in the 1950s. The most recent major addition occurs along Vancouver Street extending eastwards from Poole's building. The addition is constructed in brick, the top section being rendered, with a shingled roof and is not sympathetic to the original stone building.
The Cottage Hospital was the first of many Western Australian buildings designed by Poole (he also designed Albany Courthouse) and a significant departure in architectural style for the Public Works Department. It has been classified as Federation Arts and Crafts and as an aesthetically exceptional example of the architect's work. Other 19th century buildings on the site, such as the former nurses quarters, morgue and carpenters workshop, are regarded as significant as an intact hospital complex.
The building ceased being a hospital in 1962 and was used as a residential hostel for high school students until 1972. In 1980 a major refurbishment program began and the building was transformed into the Vancouver Arts Centre (VAC). The building is now the focal point for Albany arts and is the only facility dedicated to the delivery of an inclusive and diverse program for the whole community across all forms of expression.
The VAC publishes a monthly e-newsletter to promote its range of exhibitions, concerts, workshops and professional development opportunities. To receive it, phone the VAC on (08) 6820 3740.