All posts filed under: architecture

event: open house melbourne 2013

    Cancel those weekend plans, folks, and invest in a pair of walking shoes because Open House Melbourne 2013 is almost here. This is one of my favourite events of the year. Started in 2008, this free event sees some of Melbourne’s most significant buildings open their doors to the public for one wintry weekend. Wander through theatres, libraries, galleries, universities, churches, synagogues, museums, schools, offices, hospitals and some of the city’s most interesting residential houses — plus many more. For me, at least, Open House is the perfect excuse to indulge that childhood urge to peek behind closed doors and climb forbidden staircases. For two short days of the year, the locks fall away and Melburnians are free to explore the nooks and crannies of their city. This year, 111 buildings will participate in Open House. Unfortunately, ten of the buildings can only be visited with a ticket obtained via a ballot, and the ballot has now closed — but 101 buildings should be more than enough to satisfy even the most enthusiastic …

doing the block

– – A hundred years ago, Melbourne socialites would dress in their finest and head into the CBD to ‘do The Block’ on a Saturday afternoon. This entailed strolling around the city’s two fashionable shopping arcades, The Block and Royal Arcade. While this tradition has unfortunately been lost (I must admit I would love to carry a parasol and walk haughtily around the city), these two arcades are still very much in existence. Today, they’re filled with posh boutique stores and have become one of the CBD’s main tourist attractions. The Block was built between 1891 and 1893 and has the somewhat random distinction of featuring the largest mosaic tiled floor in the country. Royal Arcade was constructed a little earlier, in 1869, and is known for its large clock flanked by the mythical characters Gog and Magog, which have been in place since 1892. Both arcades are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as particularly fine examples of Victorian-era architecture. It’s rare to find public buildings in Australia that convey such a strong sense …

the forum

  The eccentric Forum Theatre on the corner of Flinders and Russel Streets is one of Melbourne’s premier live music venues and architectural icons. The exterior is strange enough, but inside things just get weirder with Greco-Roman-style statues and columns decorating the main auditorium, which also features a bright blue ceiling that glitters with thousands of stars. You can take a virtual tour of the theatre on the Forum’s website; otherwise, the only way to see inside is to buy a ticket to its various upcoming shows.   Forum Theatre Address: 154 Flinders St, Melbourne Vic 3000  

Meet me on the steps

  Those steps. Those clocks. That dome… Melbourne just wouldn’t be Melbourne without Flinders Street Railway Station. ‘On the steps’ or ‘under the clocks’ (one and the same location) is the traditional meeting place for converging Melburnians, which is why you’ll see so many people loitering under the front arch of the station. This is probably the city’s best-loved and most iconic building, and has been acknowledged as such by Heritage Victoria. The station started life as a pile of sheds back in 1854, but after a few decades the city decided it needed a more permanent building, so a station-designing competition was held. A couple lads named James Fawcett and HPC Ashworth won the gig (and £500) and the new station was completed in 1910. One lovely little piece of trivia about Flinders Street Station is that the retro clocks adorning the front of the building really are quite seriously retro – they are originals dating back to the 1860s. Apparently, during the early 1980s the clocks were removed and digital replacements were due to …

platform artists group inc.

    Platform Artists Group is a not-for-profit organisation that was established back in 1990. This artist-run initiative showcases artworks in two public spaces: the windows in the Campbell Arcade (also called the Degraves Street Subway) and in the Majorca Building in Flinders Lane. The Campbell Arcade is an interesting sight in itself. Built in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympic Games, this space is a great example of Art Deco architecture. There are also a few cafes and sweet little shops down here that are fun to explore on a rainy afternoon.  

the shot tower

f There aren’t many things about the Melbourne Central shopping complex that I like, but the old Coops Shot Tower is one of them. This heritage-listed building was constructed in 1889-90 (that’s pretty old in Australian terms) and was used to manufacture lead shot until 1960. To do this, the lead would be dropped from the top of the tower into water at the bottom, which is why the building needed to be so tall. Cool, huh?