Round 3: Civic
Both Sydney and Melbourne boast major iconic civic buildings. When it comes to civic buildings, those built for serving – arts, transport networks, education or government administration – there’s added public pressure and excitement. According to Sydney Architect Tomek Archer, Sydney’s obsession with the outdoors has caused missed opportunities.
Melbourne Architect Nick Harding believes immigration has helped to make Melbourne’s city what it is today: diverse and inviting. Melbournites embrace the new.
“Fed Square would have to be the only town square built 200 years after the settlement of a city that has been successfully embraced as the centre of a city from the moment is was completed. Whether you like the architecture or not it is irrelevant, it is a truly successful urban strategy creating a new centre and one that is next door to the river, connecting the CBD to one it’s few natural assets,” says Harding.
Alex Ritchie from e2 says he simply feels Melbourne ‘gets it’. “I really like how in Melbourne new architecture plays with the scale of its heritage fabric. My favourite Melbourne buildings are the Southern Cross Station by Grimshaw; The Exhibition and Convention Centre by DCM and 140 William Street (formally BHP House) by Yuncken Freeman.
“After the completion of the Opera House, Sydney has not build any true risk taking or progressive architecture since,” says Ritchie. The Design Writer Penny Craswell agrees Melbourne has maintained its edge. “Melbourne is constantly changing, with new architecture that pushes the boundaries of design. Sydney is still catching up, though the new buildings at the University of Technology, Sydney, including the Gehry building, are starting to challenge the standard glass and steel box approach to new buildings.” Craswell says.