Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting


Jury Citation
Melbourne Central confirms the potential of the new public realm residing within large-scale commercial developments. This complex, extended over a full city block, with a mix of retail, food and beverage and entertainment outlets, is formed through the skilled redesign of an existing commercial complex. It offers a microcosm of the city, with new laneways and multi-level streets slicing through, following older patterns of movement across the site, and allowing a legible network of movement both into the site and back into the city. The absence of airconditioning from these pathways contributes to the sense of their being part of the public spaces of the city rather than the private spaces of a hermetically sealed shopping mall.

The underground railway station, with its major point of access radically diverted from the fringes to the centre of the complex, puts population and intensity into what is the major public space. The volume containing this space is formed from a stage set of urban fragments, evidence of the distant and recent past, and flanked by galleries, allowing both movement and observation of the urban theatre below. A series of new public spaces has been created through astute re-positioning of existing facilities.

The form and finish of the project are comprised of the most modest means, of materials easily at hand, of direct unfussed details – a type of urban povera, allowing the easy possibility of a makeover, of a giant new fitout.

While clearly a successful commercial development, Melbourne Central has been acknowledged with this award as a thoroughly considered and resolved work of urban design, making creative use of an existing facility, and adding to the richness of the Melbourne urban experience.

For further coverage see Architecture Australia vol 95 no 1 January February 2006.


Project architect
ARM Architecture Melbourne
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project architect
NH Architecture
Builder Lend Lease
Building surveyor McKenzie Group
Design architect ARM Architecture Melbourne
Graphic design Gollings Pidgeon
Interior designer ARM Architecture Melbourne
Landscape consultant ARM Architecture Melbourne
Lighting consultant Bovis Lend Lease—Mike Sparrow
Original architect Kisho Kurokawa in association with Hassell
Planning consultant Urbis JHD Pty Ltd
Services consultant Connor Pincus and Saunders, Connell Mott MacDonald
Structural consultant Irwinconsult
Site details
Location Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Commercial
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 1 Nov 2006


Architecture Australia, November 2006

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