An assortment of architecturally remarkable buildings sprawl throughout Melbourne’s urban jungle and enrich the lives of Melburnians. From the French Renaissance train station to the neoclassical state library and the Moorish Revival theatre, here are some of the most impressive buildings in Melbourne.
Established in 1854, the State Library Victoria spreads across two acres and features seven reading rooms in which you can enjoy any of their more than 2 million titles. Two of the library’s most significant architectural aspects are La Trobe Reading Room and the Architectural Fragment, a sculpture just outside the library. Australia’s oldest public library is also home to numerous historical documents and artefacts, including the diaries of Melbourne founders John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, as well as the original armour worn by Victorian bushranger Ned Kelly.
State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 03 8664 7000
Preserved under The Glass Cone, Coop’s Shot Tower stands as something of a 50-meter time capsule, having been preserved and saved from demolition in 1973. The tower now sits amidst the retail hub that is Melbourne Central. Built in 1889, the tower has 327 steps leading to the top. It produced six tonnes of lead shot each week until 1961. Nowadays, there is a museum located on the second floor of the tower.
Designed by architect Joseph Reed, the Royal Exhibition Building was built to host the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. Neighbouring the Melbourne Museum in Carlton Gardens, this World Heritage Site held the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia and was used as a venue for the 1956 Olympics. In 1980, Princess Alexandra granted the building its royal title, and today the space holds events, exhibitions and school exams.
Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St., Carlton VIC, Australia, + 61 03 9270 5000
Designed by 19-year-old architect JJ Clark in 1857, the Old Treasury Building once held the fortunes acquired during the Victorian Gold Rush. Fashioned from bluestone and sandstone, the three-storey building is a primary example of Australian Renaissance Revival architecture. The building originally served as the home of the Treasury Department, but is now a museum with a number of permanent and rotating exhibitions.
Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring St., Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 03 9651 2233
Formerly known as the State Theatre, this venue was the largest cinema in Australia when it opened in 1929 and had a seating capacity of 3,371 people. John Eberson designed the space as an atmospheric theatre with a Moorish Revival exterior and an interior ceiling that gives patrons the illusion of sitting under the Mediterranean night sky. These days, the Forum Theatre is used for concerts and events, including the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Forum Theatre, Flinders St. & Russel St., Melbourne VIC, Australia, + 61 03 9299 9860