Architecture of Melbourne
The architecture of Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia, is characterised by an extensive juxtaposition of old and new architecture. The city is noted for preserving a significant amount of Victorian architecture and has some of the largest in the country. Additionally, it features a vast array of modern architecture, with around 60 skyscrapers over 100 m in the city centre which have deliberately been set back from thoroughfares and streets to preserve historic architecture—leading to the title of "Australia's most European city".
Melbourne prospered significantly after the discovery of gold in the 1850s, which led to a Gold Rush that brought a prolonged period of wealth and granduer to the city–for a period of time it was one of the wealthiest cities in the British Empire, second only to London. This is reflected in much of the ornamentation of architecture and its flourishing Victorian era periods which led to some of the most prolific edifices in Australia's early history. For some time up until the early 20th century, it was Australia's most populous city until overtaken by Sydney. Melbourne is also said to have anticipated the skyscraper race alongside Chicago and New York City, with the construction of the Queen Anne APA (Australia) Building, sometimes referred to as one of the world's tallest buildings in the 1890s, Australia's tallest building until 1912 and Melbourne's tallest building until 1929. Slipshod government and council attitudes towards heritage in the 1950s, 60s and 70s led to the destruction of most of the city's early architecture, although some edifices have been retained, specifically the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne General Post Office, the State Library of Victoria and a number of churches and cathedrals.
Engineering developments led to Melbourne's status as a port city, and due to the location on the Yarra River and the inability to navigate it, ships had to be unloaded at Williamstown (formerly Hobson's Bay) and Sandridge. English engineer Sir John Coode oversaw the construction of Victoria Dock in swampland to the west of the city in 1889. The postwar period of Melbourne saw a regeneration of the city's economy and a successful bid to host the 1956 Summer Olympics. Around this time, the construction of the skyscraper ICI House led to the city entering a contemporary style of high-rise architectural development similar to that of North America and Asia.
The juxtaposition of old and new has given Melbourne a reputation as a city of no characterising architectural style, but rather an accumulation of buildings dating from the present back until the European settlement of Australia. The city is also home to Eureka Tower (2006), which was the tallest residential tower when measured to its highest floor for some time.
- 1 History
- 2 Monuments and structures
- 3 Residential architecture
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Boom era (1840s–1890s)
Melbourne was first settled in 1835, after the discovery of fresh water in the Yarra River. The land to the north of the Yarra was considerably flat, while low-lying mountain ranges lay to the west, east and north, with small streams running through the plains of the city, down to the Yarra. Melbourne was settled on the more desirable northern bank, and Surveyor Hoddle's grid of streets, approximately 30 metres wide (considerably wider than Sydney streets), followed the course of the Yarra. The land was subsequently flattened, to allow railway development at Spencer Street. The town was largely developed by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, two Tasmanians who surveyed and purchased land in the 1830s. Until the 1850s, the settlement of Melbourne grew at a moderate but steady pace and its population increased. Following this early settlement period, gold was discovered and masses of people flocked to the city's port from Europe and the United States, in order to dig from the alluvial goldfields discovered across Victoria. As a result of the Gold Rush, Melbourne's population grew from 4,000 in 1837 to 300,000 in 1854. Approximately £100 million worth of gold was discovered in the Victorian fields in the 1850s. During this time, those who immigrated to the city became caterers to the miners, as well as entrepreneurs establishing businesses across the city. Because of the accumulating wealth of Melbourne, many prominent buildings were established on public land allocated by Surveyor Hoddle. These included the State Library, Parliament House, the Town Hall, and the General Post Office. This prolonged time of prosperity and development in the city led to the moniker "Marvellous Melbourne". London banks distributed large amounts of money to men who had visions for Melbourne, particularly in the form of grand, elaborate edifices. During this period, The Craig, Williamson and Thomas store (1883), the Prell's Buildings (1889), the Menzies Hotel (1867), the Fink's Building (1888), the Federal Coffee Palace (1883), the Broken Hill Chambers (1880), head office of Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) and the Equitable / Colonial Mutual Life Building (1893)–all have since been destroyed.
The concept for the Prell's Building was devised when Friedrich Wilhelm Prell was commissioned to construct buildings in Melbourne. Prell was born in Hamburg, Germany and migrated to Australia at the age of 21. He founded the firm of F.W. Prell and Company Limited, an import/export business. In 1886, the vice-president of the American Otis Elevator Company, W.F. Hall, visited Melbourne. In conversation with Prell, Hall noticed that Sydney had six Otis elevator lifts in operation in public buildings, however Melbourne had none. He remarked that men who had to climb stairs in Melbourne's offices would do so with great difficulty, reaching the top floor with "aching legs, a fluttering heart, and a firm resolution to do business elsewhere". Prell added two more storeys to his building, as well as Victoria's first passenger elevators. Between 1888 and 1889, three 11-storey buildings were constructed in Queens and Collins Streets. The buildings, known as Prell's buildings, dominated the southern section of the city with their Modern Renaissance style, and were known as "Towers of Babel of the elevator type. The buildings were constructed in brick or stone with ornamented cornices. The building was generally used for commercial offices. The Prell's buildings were demolished in 1975, for "no sound reason".
The Craig, Williamson and Thomas buildings were department stores that sold goods including robes, silks and satins, until a fire broke out on 22 November 1897 and destroyed much of the building's interior, creating a damage bill of £1,500,000 and a stock los of £100,000. The facade was preserved, and extended, before the building was sold in 1946, after ten years on the market. The Commonwealth Bank opened a branch at the site, before demolishing what had once been the largest retailer in Australia in 1969. The Menzies Hotel, constructed in 1867 in Second Empire style, was host to prominent figures such as Alexander Graham Bell, Herbert Hoover and Dame Nellie Melba. It was one of Melbourne's first grand hotels and was built on land purchased by Archibald and Catherine Menzies. Like the Craig, Williamson and Thomas building, it too was demolished in 1969 to make way for the BHP Plaza. The Equitable Life Assurance Society of America headquarters (later Colonial Mutual Life) on the north west corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets was designed to be "the grandest building in the Southern Hemisphere and to last forever". Designed by German-born American architect Edward Raht, the design drew on the ROmanesque Revival popular in the US in the 1880s, and was built of solid granite blocks; the building cost was estimated at £233,000. It was one of the taller buildings in Melbourne at the time, at 7 storeys and 138 feet. The National Trust, who sided with public opinion that the building was "outdated, ostentatious and gloomy", deemed it ineligible for protection and it was subsequently demolished in 1960.
The Australian Building, also known as the APA Building, was for some time one of the tallest buildings in the world. Located on Elizabeth Street, on the corner of Flinders Lane, the building dominated the Melbourne skyline for many years until the construction of ICI Building in 1957. The building was constructed on the site of the E.S. & A Bank and reached a total of 12-storeys (164 feet). It was envisioned by F.T. Durham, Post Master General and director of the biscuit company Swallow and Ariell. The APA Building was constructed between 1888–89 in the Queen Anne architectural style, with a gabled roofline, walkway, pinnacles and decorative masonry. It was built in red and cream horizontal bands, with shops and offices occupying most floors. Hydraulic lifts were added to the building and opened by the premier, Alfred Deakin. As the building neared completion, Melbourne's land boom was dissipating and the city entered an economic depression. Office space became considerably difficult to lease. Durham's assets were purchased greater than their market value by the Munro's Real Estate Bank, which helped secure his company. The top floor and pinnacles were removed in the 1950s. The building itself was demolished in 1981, supposedly because it was a "fire hazard", and the owners refused to pay the $2 million for fire insurance.
The Federal Coffee Palace, a Second Empire style building on Collins Street, was constructed in 1883. At the time of opening, an article in The Age declared it as one of "Australia's most splendid" buildings. It was commissioned by politicians and property developers James munro and James Mirams. The exterior was designed by Ellerker and Killburn, and the interior by William Pitt in a joint venture. At a cost of £150,000, the building became one of Melbourne's grand ornamented hotels. A preference for modern American hotels saw the death of old world establishments like the Federal Hotel and despite public outcry and petitions, it was demolished in the early 1970s. A similar fate was met by other grand buildings of this era, including the smaller scale Melbourne Queen Victoria Hospital (1848–1994), the 10-storey Fink's Building (1888–1967), Scott's Hotel (1837–1962), Victoria Building and Queens Walk Arcade (1888–1960s), APA Tower (1880s–1967), the Fish Markets (1892–1959) and the Tivoli Opera House (1866–1969).
One of the two remaining 19th century 'skyscrapers' in Melbourne is the former National Mutual Life Association Building on the south west corner of Collins and Queen Streets, with nine floors, built in 1892 (and extended in 1903 by Best Overend & Partners). The building has been known under different names, including A.C. Goode House, and most recently as the Bank of New Zealand Australia (BNZA). It is a brick structure with a heavily modelled freestone exterior in the Gothic Revival style, featuring Gothic pointed arches, topped by spires at its roof. It was designed by the Adelaide firm Wright, Reed and Beaver. The Heritage Victoria citation notes the "aesthetic and architectural importance as a fine example of a Federation Gothic style building. The exterior facade contains many features distinctive to the style such as exuberant modelling, a turret, parapeted gables and masonry mullions. It has interiors to match, with features such as exotic dados of grey marble, red marble pilasters and columns, and white marble stairs in the foyer. The interior also features an elaborate banking chamber with a fully ornamented ceiling". A number of other buildings constructed during Melbourne's landboom survived the later century and still stand today, including the Royal Exhibition Building constructed for the 1880 World's Fair, William Wardell's Gothic Bank (1883), the Hotel Windsor (1884), William Pitt's Venetian Gothic style Old Stock Exchange (1888) and Twentyman & Askew's Stalbridge Chambers (1890).
1900s-1940s: Art deco and varying architectural styles
The turn of the century in Melbourne marked the federation of Australia in 1901. Following the extended period of wealth and prosperity after the discovery of gold in the 1850s, Melbourne's economy began to wane in the late 1890s after the closure of many banks and the city was overtaken by Sydney as the most populous urban area in Australia by 1901. It remained a centre of importance thanks to its declaration as Australia's capital city, as the seat of government for the Commonwealth of Australia. Parliament House, on Spring Street, was constructed to accommodate the parliament of Australia, between 1855 and 1929 in Neoclassical style. As a result of the economic downturn, the architecture began to reflect a more restrained style based less on Europe and more on the United States, particularly the Romanesque Revival architecture. Economic revival in the 1910s saw a regeneration of building construction and growth. Melbourne's growth, and the advent of urban sprawl in the tradition of many other Australian cities, meant that the city needed a proper railway passenger terminus rather than the ad-hoc system it had at the time, with a collection of train sheds at the Flinders Street site.
Flinders Street station was constructed after a contest was held in 1899, with 17 entries received. The competition was essentially for the detailed design of the station building, since the location of the concourse, entrances, the track and platform layout, the type of platform roofing and even the room layout to some extent was already decided. The first prize, at £500, went to railway employees James Fawcett and HPC Ashworth of Fawcett and Ashworth in 1899. Their design, titled Green Light, was of French Renaissance style and included a large dome and tall clock tower. The train shed over the platforms was intended to have many arched roofs running north-south, but only an alternative plan depicting impressively high three arched roof (running east-west) over the concourse survives–the design was heavily modified in 1904. Over the next few years, the design was tweaked and work on the station building itself began in 1905. Ballarat builder Peter Rodger was awarded the £93,000 contract and the station was originally to be clad in stone, but this exceeded the allocated budget. Red brick with cement render was chosen for the Edwardian style building. Work on the dome began the following year, and delayed construction saw a Royal Commission appointed in May 1910. The Way and Works Branch of the Victorian Railways took over the project, the station being essentially finished by mid-1909. The verandah along Flinders Street and the concourse roof and verandah along Swanston Street were not completed until after the official opening in 1910. The building has been repainted five times in its history, and the last repaint occurred in 2017. The most recent paint job was conducted to match the original colours as closely as possible, obtained through numerous samples of chipped paint which revealed the original colours after being cut in a polyester resin tube.
Other styles followed the ensuing years of Australian federation, which rendered previously popular styles like Victorian and Queen Anne dated among the Australian cities. The styles of the early 20th century included Federation architecture and the rise of art deco. The rise of the suburbs in Melbourne meant that large acres of land could be purchased and homes could be designed in appointed styles of the land owners and home builders. One of the most popular styles was art deco, and several public city buildings were designed in this style, including the Manchester Unity Building, which mixed art deco with Gothic Revival. The building was constructed in 1932 by the Manchester Unity I.O.O.F. in Victoria. Other buildings in the art deco style include the Myer Emporium (1920), T & G Building (1929), the Australasian Catholic Assurance Building (1935) and Mitchell House (1937)–which more closely resembles the Streamline Moderne style. These contemporary styles mirrored an increasingly diversifying city, which reflected the changing international architectural fashions. The Second World War saw fewer buildings constructed in Melbourne than in previous years. By the late 1940s, Melbourne boasted an array of styles the eras in which it prospered, including Victorian, Gothic, Queen Anne and the most flourishing style of the early 20th century–art deco.
1950s-present: contemporary architecture and lax heritage attitudes
The arrival of the 50s saw contemporary high rise offices constructed and the ICI House, built in 1955, was Australia's tallest building at the time. ICI House, breaking Melbourne's long standing 132 ft height limit, was the first International Style skyscraper in the country. It symbolised progress, modernity, efficiency and the booming corporate power in a postwar Melbourne. Its development also paved way for the construction of other modern high-rise office buildings, thus changing the shape of Melbourne's already diverse urban centre. Melbourne was the first city in Australia to undergo a post-war high-rise boom beginning in the late 1950s, though Sydney in the following decades built more, with over 50 high-rise buildings constructed between the 1970s–90s. The 1960s and 1970s were a period of lax attitudes towards the city's early heritage, and many commentators now view these years of rampant demolition as one akin to urban vandalism. Whelan the Wrecker, a now infamous demolition company, was responsible for most of the destruction towards most of Melbourne's historic buildings, notably the Federal Coffee Palace. A vast number of city hotels also closed in the 1950s, as a result of blighting liquor laws, which meant that the cost of running a licensed venue outstripped the return. This may have explained the dwindling patronage of Melbourne's grand hotels in the 1950s and 60s.
Another venue that shaped Melbourne's early architectural form is the pub, a licensed drinking establishment traditionally built on corners within the inner-city and city centre, usually no more than two-storeys tall. In the 1920s, there were about 100 corner pubs in Melbourne but this figure diminished to 45 by the 1960s. Today there are approximately 12 operating in the CBD – including The Metropolitan, which is located on the corner of William Street, and first served beer in 1854.
In 1972, as a result of sustained pressure from the National Trust, Victorian Parliament amended the Town and Country Planning Act to include the "conservation and enhancement of buildings, works, objects and sites specified as being of architectural, historical or scientific interest". The act went onto specify the prohibition of "pulling down", "removal" or "decoration or defacement" to any such building. Because only specified sites were to be protected, the local councils across Melbourne had the task of allocating buildings and places that warranted protection. The City of Melbourne council specified the entire CBD as an area of significance in 1973. However, this blanket protection measure came unstuck in 1975 when the council was threatened with compensation payments to developers if their plans were rejected on heritage grounds. Despite this, most of the cities heritage buildings were already protected by that time under the authority of the Historic Buildings Act. However, the act involved representatives from real estate and corrupt development industries with ulterior motives. As a result, "developers white elephant schemes for central Melbourne proceeded virtually unchecked throughout the 70s"–resulting in widespread loss of historic buildings.
Between the late 1970s and 1980s, Melbourne's skyline reached new heights with the construction of several office buildings. Whelan the Wrecker went out of business in the early 1990s and heritage laws were tightened into the mid 1990s. In 1972, 140 William Street (formerly known as BHP House) became the city's first building to exceed the height of 150 metres and was the tallest in Melbourne for a few years. It was constructed in steel and concrete and features an imposing dark glass facade. Designed by the architectural practice Yuncken Freeman alongside engineers Irwin Johnson and Partners, it was heavily influenced by contemporary skyscrapers in Chicago. The local architects sought technical advice from Fazlur Khan of renowned American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), spending 10 weeks at their Chicago office in 1968. The design ingenuity of 140 William Street was recognised as the building became one of the few heritage registered skyscrapers in Melbourne.
The Optus Centre, which surprised 140 William Street marginally, was completed in 1975. In 1977 Nauru House claimed the feat of the tallest building in Melbourne at a height of 182 metres (7,200 inches)1978, the first of the Collins Place towers was opened, at a height of 185 metres. The design of Collins Place was based around a pair of towers at 45 degree angles to the Hoddle Grid, with the triangular spaces between forming an open plaza to the street and a shopping plaza behind the towers. All open spaces are covered by a space frame, with transparent plastic roofing. The whole complex is clad in tan-coloured precast masonry panels. In 1986, the Rialto Towers surpassed Sydney's MLC Centre as the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, with a height of 251 metres. At the time of its opening it was the 23rd–tallest building in the world. In the 1990s, another 9 buildings were constructed in Melbourne that exceeded 150 metres; 5 of these surpassed heights of 200 metres. 101 Collins Street, which is 260-metre-tall (850 ft), became the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere in 1991; it was surpassed in height as a result of the completion of the nearby 120 Collins Street that same year. The skyscraper, which stands at 265 metres in height, held the titles for tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere for fourteen years, until the completion of the Gold Coast's Q1 in 2005.
Between 1996 and 97, a less admired Melbourne building became a target of demolition: the streamlined modernist Gas and Fuel Buildings. These structures were built in the late 1960s at a time when modernisation of the city was considered favourable. The two towers, designed by Perrot and Parents, were also known as the Princes Gate Towers. As public opinion swayed back towards the desirability of 19th century heritage, the modernist Gas and Fuel Towers grew to be seen as "ugly and featureless", with no connection to the heritage that surrounded. The Kennett Government's decision to demolish the modernist towers was generally met with approval, and the towers were demolished to make way for Federation Square. A similar fate was met by Hotel Australia, built in a Functionalist/Moderne style in 1939 and demolished in 1989. In 2008, one of the last remaining Victorian arcades in the Melbourne CBD was demolished under approval from the planning minister at the time Matthew Guy. The decision and the rapidity of the demolition created public outrage. The building, Eastern Arcade and Apollo Hall, built in 1872, was constructed on the site of the old Haymarket Theatre. It was the third arcade to be built in Melbourne and larger than both Queen's Arcade and the Royal Arcade. The Eastern Arcade was designed by George Johnston and had 68 stores as well as an upper storey. Despite discussions held by the Melbourne City Council to preserve the building or at least its facade, the entire structure was torn down in 2008.
New millennium architecture
The new millennium saw a tighter attitude towards heritage conservation and a construction boom in Melbourne. On the back of Australia's financial and mining booms between 1969 and 1970, and the establishment of the headquarters of many major companies in the city, resulted in a continual rise in large, modern office buildings being constructed outside of the historic CBD and in newer precincts like Southbank and Docklands to preserve heritage overlays within the city centre.
The 2000s saw a continuation of skyscrapers and tall buildings with the urban renewal opening of the Melbourne Docklands in 2000 and the construction of Eureka Tower, an apartment building which is currently Melbourne's tallest and the 77th tallest in the world at 92 floors and 297 metres. The glass style building was constructed by Fender Katsalidis Architects.
Monuments and structures
Melbourne's metropolitan area is dotted with structures and memorials dedicated to various different historical events of significance. Perhaps the most notable, located in King's Domain, is the Shrine of Remembrance, an art deco monument originally built to honour the men and women who served in the First World War, but now seen as a symbol for all Australians involved in war. Designed by architects and World War I veterans Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, the Shrine is built in a classical style and is based on the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The defining element located at the top of the memorial's ziggurat roof is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. Constructed using Tynong granite, the building once consisted only of the main sanctuary which was surrounded by the ambulatory. The sanctuary contains the marble Stone of Remembrance, which features an inscription stating "Greater love hath no man". Beneath the sanctuary lies a crypt, which contains a bronze statue of a soldier father and son representing two generations, as well as panels listing every unit of the Australian Imperial Force.
Federation Square, built on a concrete deck above railway lines, covering an area of 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres), is a mixed-used development built in the early 2000s. The buildings in the square were designed in a deconstructivist style with modern minimalist shapes. The complex of buildings forms a rough U-shape around the main open-air square, oriented to the west. The eastern end of the square is formed by the glazed walls of The Atrium. While bluestone is used for the majority of the paving in the Atrium and St. Paul's Court, matching footpaths elsewhere in central Melbourne, the main square is paved in 470,000 ochre-coloured sandstone blocks from Western Australia and invokes images of the Outback. The paving is designed as a huge urban artwork, called Nearamnew, by Paul Carter and gently rises above street level, containing a number of textual pieces inlaid in its undulating surface. The square also contains a large television screen, which has broadcast a number of national addresses, including a 2007 speech from then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, making an apology to the Stolen Generation of indigenous Australians. The square houses the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the SBS Headquarters.
Several other famous structures and monuments outside the CBD, many of them located in beachside suburbs like St Kilda, were demolished or destroyed by fire. The dance hall Palais de Dance (1913) in St Kilda, built by Americans Leon and Herman Phillips, was destroyed by fire in 1968, Princes Court (late 1800s), featuring toboggan and a water chute, was closed in 1909, the St Kilda Sea Baths, featuring two large bathing houses, was built in 1860 and closed in 1993. The famous Spencer Street Power Station in the city centre, featuring a large 370-feet chimney (built in 1952), and widely considered an "eyesore", was demolished between 2008 and 2009.
Town halls and civic centres
Each municipality in Melbourne is represented by its own town hall. The City of Melbourne's central municipal building is located on the northeast corner of Swanston and Collins Streets–it is the oldest town hall in Melbourne's metropolitan area, constructed in 1887 in Second Empire style, by the iconic local architect Joseph Reed and Barnes. The building is topped by Prince Alfred's Tower, named after the Duke. The tower includes a 2.44 m diameter clock, which was started on 31 August 1874, after being presented to the council by the Mayor's son, Vallange Condell. It was built by Smith and Sons of London. The longest of its copper hands measures 1.19 m long, and weighs 8.85 kg. The Main Auditorium includes a magnificent concert organ, now comprising 147 ranks and 9,568 pipes. The organ was originally built by Hill, Norman & Beard (of England) in 1929 and was recently rebuilt and enlarged by Schantz Organ Company of the United States.
South Melbourne Town Hall, which represented the now amalgamated areas of South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and St Kilda, is one of the second oldest town hall's and civic centres built in Melbourne, completed in 1879 in an elaborate Victorian Academic Classical style with French Second Empire features, dominated by a very tall multi-stage clock tower. The building is on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Arcades and laneways
The many laneways and arcades of Melbourne have become internationally famous. Not only to they boast national cultural significance in Australia, but they have come to collectively represent Melbourne. The abundance of lanes in the Melbourne city centre reflects the town planning of Melbourne–the Hoddle Grid, they originated as service laneways for horses and carts.[page needed] In some parts of the city, notably the Little Lonsdale area, they were associated[by whom?] with the city's gold-rush era slums. Notable laneways include Centre Place and Degraves Lane. Melbourne's numerous shopping arcades reached a peak of popularity in the late-Victorian era and in the interwar years. These notably include Block Place and Royal Arcade. Some notable demolished arcades include Coles Book arcade and Queens Walk arcade. Cathedral Arcade, in the Nicholas Building (1927), was built in the art deco style and reflects Melbourne's 1920s architecture with glass domes, leadlight, arches, and shopfronts with detailed wood paneling.
Since the 1990s Melbourne's lanes, particularly the pedestrianised ones, have gentrified. Officialdom has recognised their heritage value, and they attract interest from Australia and around the world. Some of the lanes have become particularly notable for their acclaimed urban art.
Melbourne's positioning spanning the Yarra River, and on the coast, necessitates several water crossings. Bolte Bridge, Australia's longest bridge, is a large twin cantilever bridge that spans the Yarra, and Victoria Harbour in the Docklands, to the west of the Melbourne city centre. Bolte Bridge was designed by architects Denton Corker Marshall from 1996 to 1999 at a cost of $75 million. The bridge features two 140 metre high silver (grey concrete) towers, situated on either side of the roadway at the midpoint of the bridge's span. These two towers are an aesthetic addition by the architects, and are not joined to the main body of the bridge. Several other pedestrian bridges that cross the Yarra River, connecting Southbank to the Melbourne city centre were built between the 19th-century and the 1990s. The most notable early multi-purpose crossing of the Yarra is the Princes Bridge, constructed in 1888. A more recent example of a bridge crossing over the Yarra is the Evan Walker Bridge, completed in 1992.
The wrought-iron arch Queens Bridge, one of the oldest remaining bridges in the city, was constructed in 1889 has five wrought iron plate girder spans, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The bridge was built by contractor David Munro, and replaced a timber footbridge built in 1860. The Morell Bridge, built in 1899, is notable as the first bridge in Victoria that was built using reinforced concrete. The bridge features elaborate decorations on the three arch spans, including prominent dragon motifs as well as ornamental Victorian lights. The gutters on the bridge are cobbled bluestone, with a single lane bitumen strip running down the middle. The Bridge is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Like many other Australian capital cities, Melbourne's suburbs and residential architecture has been shaped by the city's extensive history–thus it is defined by a variation in style, ranging from elaborate Victorian properties to more contemporary postwar homes. To counter the trend towards low-density suburban residential growth, the government began a series of controversial public housing projects in the inner city by the Housing Commission of Victoria, which resulted in demolition of many neighbourhoods and a proliferation of high-rise towers.
Upper class suburbs like Toorak flourished during Melbourne's gold rush era and feature remnants of the prosperous past, as does South Yarra, Malvern and various other eastern suburbs. These areas have Tudor, Tudorbethan, Georgian and Victorian architecture in abundance, among many other styles. More middle class areas like Camberwell and Caulfield are characterised by Bungalows. American architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan have also had influence on the residential style of Melbourne.
Ornate detail of the Block Arcade (1892)
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