Federation Square has become the cultural heart of the city, in spite of the huge controversy when first opened. Wander down here virtually any weekend of the year and you will find some kind of live music taking place - ranging from the vast array of multiculturalism present in the city through to major festivals and events such as the Melbourne Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and so much more - and with the big screen, events such as the Australian Open Tennis, World Cup games etc are also broadcast.
Just inside Federation Square was some lovely art work. I took a few moments to stop and brouse, also looking up at the high ceilings with mosiac steel work, before continuing on. I was just about to go through the doors outside when a shop caught my eye. Kirra Australian Glass and Modern Art. Wow!! What gorgeous glass art!! Didn't think I could afford anything, but doesn't cost to look, so I ventured inside - acting posh haha :o) Anyway these two works of art captivated my attention and since they were only $30 each, I couldn't resist the temptation and bought up :o) My first purchase in Melbourne!! Like 'em? :o)
People seem to either love this place or hate it. This is basically a small pedestrian square built right next Flinders Station, with some very... unique... architecture as its claim to fame. The square is surrounded by several building whose design is nothing if not unique. The buildings house museums, a TV station, a conference center, and a number of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The interior of the buildings tends to be just as unique as their exterior. Definitely worth taking the time to explore. The square itself is a gathering place, and is pretty good for people watching. There's an amateur outdoor theater that puts on performances on Sundays (or at least they did when I was there).
One of the unique features of the square, is that it was built right over the railroad tracks heading to and from the nearby Flinders Station.
This landmark, and originally controversual, public arts project soon took a great liking by the Melbourne general public. It is Melbourne's new epi-centre for arts and meeting up with friends. It used to be under the clocks of Flinders Street Station, although that was for other reasons and still goes on. However Ferderation Square, completed in 2002, is the place to be these days. It is home to several major art collections. You will find the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) - Australian collection, Aboriginal, colonial to contemporary paintings, objects and photography. Federation Square is also the home for Cinemedia Victoria which has several of film and video theatres, it's library contains a large collection of national and international cinema, video and mulimedia. The external public square with it's sloping paved area, nestled between shards of deconstructivist public buildings, is a masterwork of town planning. It works well and has the gravity of an old town square, such a thing almost non existant in Australia. Thus certainly an emerging venacular in public spaces.
Easily the LANDMARK for Melbourne with its quirky irrelevant design, Federation Square or Fed Square, as its name suggests, was meant to open to celebrate the centenary of Australian Federation on 1 Jan 01. (Due to delays, it actually opened on 26 Oct 02)
It comprises a series of buildings containing a public broadcaster (SBS), art galleries (The Ian Potter Centre is here), a museum, cinemas, exhibition spaces, auditoria, restaurants, bars and shops around two major public spaces, one covered (The Atrium), the other open to the sky, and composed of two spaces that flow into one another (St. Paul's Court and The Square). The majority of the precinct is built on top of a concrete deck over busy railway lines. Received negatively initially, it quickly won over the hearts of the Melbournians.
I wouldn't even try to explain the architectural bits....it's still looks a little disjointed to my untrained eyes though I applaud its quirkiness with its weird bends, angles and lines. It's a happening place as bands play to music to folks having a drink in the bars and restaurants and soaking in the electric atmosphere.
Tourists will make your way here too. Why? The Tourist Info Centre is here. Grin. Get your first orientation of the city, right here; right now.
If you're looking for controversy, then you need go no further than this building. It's a billion dollar extravaganza of someone's imagination.
Most find it a scab on the surface of Melbourne but, on the other hand, like all scabs, it's very noticeable and very different.
The abstract work doesn't sit comfortably in its environment, especially set between Flinders Street Station and a church on the other side.
Federation Square is a huge modern area with a whole lot of things going on - the day I wandered through half of Melbourne seemed to be there as well watching a soccer match on the huge open-air TV screen. There are cafes, bars, a funky glass visitor information centre, a function centre, a major art gallery, the Australian Racing Museum and more. Right in the heart of Melbourne Federation Square is billed as a 'unique cultural precinct'. It is certainly different - I guess that being a lover of more traditional architecture I wasn't as taken with the modern geometric designs of the area as many people undoubtedly would be, but at the same time I was really impressed that the city had gone to such lengths to create a great public area. I would love to be here with the Aussies playing the All Blacks up on that big screen!
Unfortunately, few of my photos of the Square turned out well. So I will have to come back!
As you can clearly see, the baroque and gothic styles nearby would tend to clash with this body of work. Personally, I don't mind it, I just think it's in the wrong place.
You have to love the spin they tried to put on the winning design: 'The winning scheme draws its inspiration from the unique urban characteristics of Melbourne's arcades and lanes and transforms these elements into a new form of organisation, celebrating the city'.
Sounds like a load of pretentious jibberish to me! They went on:
"Federation Square was to become a new centre of cultural activity for Melbourne - the long-awaited large, open public civic destination. Lab architecture studio saw their design as one of 'difference and coherence' bringing together distinct elements and activities while maintaining a visual and formal coherence. They believed it reflected the true spirit of federation - independent identities combining to form a larger whole."
It houses the Ian Potter Centre (art), Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame (funny, none of the horses I ever backed were in there), Melbourne Visitor Centre, 15 restaurants and a Function Centre as well as offices for SBS, the Australian Multicultural Media outlet.
When I first came to Melbourne in 1998 construction of the Fed Square had already begun. Everytime when I passed by the place I would wonder what it would be like, and after patiently waited for 5 years it's finally completed in 2002, and after 150 years, Melbourne finally got the city square it has wanted.
People either love it or hate it but can’t ignore it. We can't stop staring because its structures are so surprising and confronting.
Fed Square embraces all the city's inner tensions:between old and new, between artistic freedom and the constraints of funding and politics. Sitting opposite a cathedral,a pub and a railway station,it is a gathering place for our diverse cultures. Its grounds,according to one historian, are both sacred and secular.
The whole site props on a concrete and steel deck over 12 rail lines. When you're at the cobblestone plaza, don't be alarmed when the ground quavers, it's only the forklift. ;)
What's at Fed Square?
- Ian Potter Centre: the National Gallery of Victoria Australia (see my tip)
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image
- Australian Racing Museum (yes, racing is big in Victoria, we even get a day off for that)
- Television station SBS
- Melbourne Visitors Centre (Don't miss the green-tinted grass "fish tank" building, the Visitors Centre is undergroun)
- Dinning and drinking (e.g. Paul Mathis' Transport pub)
- Shopping (e.g. Kirra Gallery which sells interesting sculptures and glasswares)
Check out the website to see what's install for you at the Fed Square. :)
Pic was taken on the 14th February 2003 during the anti-war protest. Yes, I am anti-war, very.
Federation Square, in the heart on City is one of the most unsual buildings/structures you are ever likely to come across. Set amongst many old majestic buildings it's a place of culture, art and cuisine. It's the number one place for international tourists in Victoria and also the number one public place for events and activities.
Federation Square is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Melbourne. This building is built as a meeting place for special events and functions for Melbourne. They also have different exhibitions from time to time for special causes.
You don't have to spend much time there, unless you are attending an event or have coffee in their cafe for free WiFi. Basically, you can take many great pictures there cause the modern architecture is totally unique in Melbourne.
Check out website for an events that you might be interested...
Melbourne Visitor Centre is located ground floor of Federation Square. This should be the first place to visit in Melbourne because you can get free maps and information here including Melbourne and State of Victoria attractions, tours, and public transportation timetables and routes.
Open daily 9am-6pm.
Tucked inside the conglomerate that is Federation Square is the "Icons of Australian Art Trail". This is, in my limited knowledge, the best all round collection of famous Australian artists.
A wonderful cross section includes such luminaries as Sidney Nolan, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Hans Heysen, Rupert Bunny, George W. Lambert, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Jan Sutherland, Margaret Preston, Brett Whiteley, Ken Done and others.
It's a great cross section, particularly of 19th century and early 20th century, though I personally felt it was bit light on with the "Brushmen of the Bush" (Broken Hill artists) and Brett Whiteley.
More of the dramatic colours of these artists would have rounded it out for me but I thoroughly enjoyed what was on show and highly recommend it if you are into art.
Downstairs was an exhibition of indigenous art and I have to say that this is also the best I've seen with the variety encompassing everything from totem poles to modernistic styles.
Experience the many aspects of the history and development of Australian art and culture at the newly opened (28 November 2002) Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria. The NGV is made up of 3 levels of galleries which hold an impressive collection of indigenous and non-indigenous art.
Personally, I don't like the Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968-2002 on Level 3. They look more like the products of psychiatry patients, but then again, the psychiatry patients' works at the Royal Melbourne Hospital are much better.
The pic shows one of my fav in the NGV, The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin showing that the Australian pioneering history were bound up with the clearing of the bush. Each panel is "read" to link the progress of the toil of this land across time.
Monday to Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am - 6pm
Admission is free but there may be an entrance fees for special exhibitions.
it' a brand new "refurbishment"... It seems to be a huge cohordinated mess, but inside there's a huge arts exibition... from aborigenal to now, three stages of for free quality interesting stuff.... quantitity, quality and price what's better?
Federation Square is controversial due to its striking, but unusual, design using large panels and claddings of sandstone, zinc and glass. It is a strikingly modern design for a civic centre and has not found favour with everyone.
The Square is the size of an entire city block and is a focus for the Melbourne community life positioned in the very centre of the city.
It brings together a creative mix of attractions, including galleries, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, bars, two dedicated function centres, festivals, events and public open spaces embraced by some of the most stunning architecture in the world.