The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre by joint venture architects Woods Bagot and NH Architecture won a National Award for Public Architecture at the AIA's 2010 National Architecture Awards.
Set adjacent to the Yarra River and adjoining the existing Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the new Melbourne Convention Centre establishes a critical link with the inner city’s fabric. The project brings order to a complex brief, organizing planning to enable flexibility and delineated functional movement throughout the building.
The entry foyer is a mighty space that manages scale with merit and ease; the sculpturally articulated auditorium wall contributes a sense of art and the glazed wall to the city provides a tough, definite edge to adjacent land and river. The elaborate array of internal finishes is a constant source of stimulation and decoration throughout the building. They offer a unique artistic licence rarely found to this extent within the fitout of a large public building.
The plenary hall is a magnificent room. Reminiscent of Aalto’s lecture halls, it can be subdivided to make three smaller, fully sound-isolated auditoriums. Flexibility is increased further with the installation of fully automated gala seating and staging that can be lowered to extend the flat performance space. This building speculates on the future of convention centres, integrating art, sustainable systems and operational flexibility as key considerations.
Unquestionably a building of urban presence, the Convention Centre builds upon Melbourne’s knowledge of artistically infused, sculptured buildings.
– Jury citation