Melbourne Architecture - Federation Square

With the opening of the Federation Square in 2002, Melbourne can boasts of it's own iconic development to compete with the best in the World. The project was commissioned through an international competition which was won by 2  young London-based architects. Calling themselves LAB Architecture Studio, they teamed up with Australian firm Bates Smart to undertake the massive project. 

The design was initially very controversial, however the development has turned out to be very popular and is now the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in Melbourne after Crown Casino. The whole complex occupies an entire city block. It has a very rich programme which include galleries, food outlets, event venues, shops and large public places. The Ian Potter Centre - part of the National Gallery of Victoria is here. It has one of the largest collection of Australian Art. Another interesting attraction is the Australian Centre for The Moving Image - which is a gallery dedicated to movies, television, videos, games and new media.

The most dramatic element of the development is the architecture. At the time it was revealed, the design was really cutting edge. Deriving from fractal geometry and an unconventional formal approach, the buildings were unlike any ever seen before. The large public spaces form an integral part of the design, and the structures are like canyons or landscape elements enclosing the spaces. 

Parts of the buildings are reminiscent of bush architecture - with memories of Ned Kelly and the harsh dry Australian outback. Other parts are futuristic and look like alien space ships. 

The structures are immensely complex and irregular, more like nature then man-made elements. All in all an architectural tour de force not to be missed. 


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