Still maintaining much of its original 1920s structure, as well as its street-art graffiti and a significant amount of the original brickwork, the Powerhouse reopened in 2000 as a cultural hub for the city. Then, it was once again wonderfully restored and refurbished in 2007, using modern steel and glass features to make it relevant to today’s culture and architecture. The Powerhouse now hosts two restaurants with bars and terraces overlooking the river, two main stage theatres seating up to 740 and 200 people respectively, an open stage for live performances complete with viewing galleries, an exhibition basement, as well as functions and conference rooms. The Powerhouse has therefore become a cultural landmark that houses visual and performing arts such as theatre shows, stand-up comedy, photography exhibitions, burlesque spectacles and jazz concerts, music and cultural festivals, putting on 1,250 artistic performances for over 700,000 visitors a year.
From an architectural point of view, its striking construction still preserves remnants of Brisbane’s early-mid 1900s: the industrial red brick façade, interior steel beams, gantry, generator and cement floors are the leftovers of a pre-war industrial power station turned into an iconic arts centre. A new lighting system has been recently required to further enhance the vintage and industrial style features of this outstanding building at night, delivering a new lease of life through a clever use of light and colour.