Sunday, March 6, 2011

Melbourne’s Buildings

As I took to Melbourne’s streets, one thing I noticed right away was the mix of old and new buildings. Beautiful, intricate and majestic old buildings (like the Parliament House, the Library, Flinders St Station, the Royal Exhibition Building and other heritage buildings and the numerous churches) are found alongside sleek, modern architectural designs (like the Eureka Tower, Rialto Tower and the building at Federation Square). I found the contrast very interesting and I would guess that students of architecture and design would learn a lot on walking tours. To add to the feel of old and new coming together, one can see trams, cars, buses, horse-drawn carriages and bicycles side by side on Melbourne’s streets.

Even shopping malls are architectural wonders. The Melbourne Central complex is very interesting. It includes a shopping center, a railway station and a tower. It used to be just the tower which was built between 1889 and1890. When the tower ceased to be used, rather than tear it down, they built around it and the tower became the focal point of the center.  The tower (which is now a museum) is contained under a glass cone (said to be the largest glass structure of its type in the world.

The Block Arcade is a heritage shopping arcade. It was built between 1891 and 1893 and is an example of the Victorian Mannerist style. It’s  interior is exquisitely decorated with mosaic tiled flooring, wrought iron and carved stone finishings and a glass canopy. The mall was closed off to accommodate Oprah and her guests when she visited Melbourne in December 2010.

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