Monday, June 29, 2009

Contrasts in Architecture

Pic 1: Me having a great day in my home town - note the tiled entrance to Block Arcade.

Pic 2: The Mansion still stands although now dwarfed by steel & concrete.

It’s Sunday morning in Melbourne, and deciding on a sleep-in, Sue and I enjoyed a late breakfast at a Bayside Café near home. The sky was cloudless and the bay was still. People were walking their dogs or stopping at the café after a crisp winter morning ride on the bike paths hugging the beaches of Port Phillip Bay.

My mate, Daggy Dazza called me later in the morning to organize a ride into Melbourne Central to take some pics.
I had this concept of “Contrasts in Architecture” within Melbourne. I see old buildings from Melbourne’s past that have escaped the wrecker’s hammer, and yet the ones that didn’t escape have these weird and sometimes wonderful buildings in their place reaching upward and dwarfing the heritage below.

During the ride I also rediscovered the arcades leading from the place where I had my first job, to the other end of the city. How it has changed, not the buildings in themselves, but the ambience. The character of the laneways which to me in the 60s were a quicker place to get from where I was to where I wanted to go had now transformed into a buzz of Sunday Socializing. Sections of the arcades cater for the cafes and have a certain grunge factor where further up the city they become a more up-market shopping area.
Pic 3: This gothic style building, now apartments has always intrigued me. I'd like to know more of its history. The area known as St Kilda Road has lost many of its earlier buildings with little pockets still hiding under tall buildings.

With cafes, bars, fashion shops and a mix of locals and tourists abound, I actually felt like a tourist with my camera. Riding out of the city, we took the bike paths home. These follow the bayside beaches and even though its winter, the paths were being used by other cyclists with their families and locals walking their dogs while taking in the fresh air of the bay.
On my return home, I said to Sue, let’s go there next Sunday and enjoy our own City.
Even Daggy Dazza said, “Travelling opens your eyes to home.” He’s right you know.

Pic 5: Sitting beside a modern metal (& rusty) structure is the Malthouse Theatre. Originally a factory and warehouse, the complex is now a venue for plays and music with several small and intimate theatres.

Pic 5 & 6: One of the "Grungy" laneways of Melbourne now full of cafes. Note the running shoes hanging from the light fittings. A regular activity of the local teenagers I suspect.

Pic 7: Daggy Dazza in front of Block Arcade - will they let us in dressed like this?

Pic 8: Melbourne was founded in August 1835 and the Mitre Tavern was built in 1837. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Melbourne and still has a full operating licence to this day. It is nestled amongst other fine examples of architecture from the late 1800s, early & late 1900s in the upper end of Melbourne's financial district.

Pic 9 : Melbourne's Flinder's Street station is an iconic monument. Note the high rise building in contrast.


  1. Loooovly post Leon. Amazing how different our city looks when you see it in pics on the web. Nice work. Not sure about that bloke in front of the Block arcarde shot though. Looks more like dodgy daz!

  2. Yeah! you found the way so we can leave a comment. Melbourne is a pretty city. I guess it is as cosmopolitain as New-York, London, Sydney. I bet you guys have very good Asian restaurants too.
    I like the contrast of the older buildings and the modern ones in the background. Very good!

  3. Hi Leon,
    We seem to be having trouble leaving comments even after your modifications!!!! We have commented several times but nothing shows up. We are enjoying your tour around Melbourne very much - excellent pics and we look forward to more.
    Carol & Michael


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