Melbourne is a quirky, modern city with many faces. Yet, it also has its older parts that are well preserved and a stunning contrast to the contemporary-style architecture visitors find in Australia’s second largest city. It’s a hip, vibrant place that is a hub for people from various backgrounds and with different approaches to life. Taking it a step further, exactly this influence is reflected by the architecture. There is no such thing as “one” architectural style in Melbourne. Rather, the buildings and their designs span the centuries – from Melbourne’s historic roots as a British settlement of the Victorian era to the contemporary and modern.
Architectural Juxtapositions & Modern Angles
Melbourne is often referred to as “Australia’s most European City,” reflecting the fantastic job it is doing preserving its old Victorian houses. One could almost be in England some 150 years ago. Being one of the most well-off cities thanks to a gold rush in the mid 19th century, Melbourne is, to this day, home to a great number of houses and buildings showing ornate and detailed ornamentation. The prosperous past seems still with us in this modern era as a result of architectural preservation. Experience this melding of eras when you stay in Melbourne. The Lyall Hotel, for instance, is a warm, discrete urbane place of luxury and style combining a traditional touch with contemporary thought.
As a strong juxtaposition to the historical part of Melbourne stand the ultra-modern designs. The visitors walking along the streets and immersing themselves in the buzzing city life will soon gaze up and ooh and aah at the interesting and not less inspiring constructions. And, it doesn’t take a lot of architectural knowledge to understand that those forms, patterns, and well-thought through layouts are results of a highly creative process.
We can all agree that architecture is a form of art. Undoubtedly. Just look at the Melbourne Central Shopping Center. Stand in one place, then move to another to shift your perspective and angle of view. You quickly realize what a difference your perspective and angle of view can make – the entire composition seems to move. In fact, no matter the angle, as you view the large, airy and light dome, reality seems but an illusion. The different shapes, forms, and materials allow endless opportunities for creating stunning buildings in terms of both human functionality and aesthetics.
Melbourne’s Illusionary Reality
Is life an illusion? Are illusions alive– hence, part of life? We will never know, but the beauty of it is that we ourselves are the creators of the architecture that is surrounding us. Designers and architects can play with different shapes to create certain perceptions, to influence – no, rather invite – the beholder to simply view differently. This does not just refer to architecture but to the world at large: seeing and perceiving with a fresh new mind and eye.
Perception is created and twisted so quickly. – Louis C.K.
Let us immerse ourselves in a creation that might seem like an illusion. Just enter the State Theater in Melbourne and gently tilt your head back. Gaze up – the ceiling, covered with 75,000 brass cups, seems like the glowing night sky, alive and moving. Dynamic lights seem to float around in the large theater hall, home to one of the largest stages in the world. Truly a place where illusion merges with realty, reality with illusion.
The theater seems to be floating. Our sensibility is challenged to change as the light moves throughout the room. It creates different angles on the shapes and forms around us. The State Theater is a wonderful example of people’s different views on things – on life in particular. The architectural creation of a building moves – literally. Change your perspective and view on things. Let the creative side of the brain work and simply imagine. To get inspired in so many ways.
Floating Angles and Moving Perspectives
Once we step outside of the illusionary theater, the luminous, shiny facades of skyscrapers . Look up. What do you see? The world from a different angle. Let us be open; try to use our imagination; fully embrace the real illusionary – or the illusional reality? Architecture is shaping our perspectives in so many ways.