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The Sound of Buildings

Learn the story behind some of Melbourne’s most significant architectural structures with The Sound of Buildings as part of State of Design and Melbourne Open House.

The Sound of Buildings


July 7th, 2011

So many of us walk through our cities paying only cursory attention to the urban fabric around us.

The Sound of Buildings will change the way we look at the city. During the State of Design Festival as part of Melbourne Open House, this interactive multimedia tour will accompany walkers, telling the stories of 10 of Melbourne’s key buildings through the voices of designers, building users and children.

Audio, imagery and a GPS mapping function will navigate listeners as they experience AAMI Park Rectangular Stadium, the Westpac Centre, the Melbourne Theatre Company and Melbourne Recital Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, Royal Exhibition Building, St Paul’s Cathedral, Monaco House, Council House 2 and Federation Square.


Melbourne Theatre Company

One of the voices contributing to The Sound of Buildings is that of Donald Bates, Design Director at LAB Architecture, the team responsible for Federation Square – a project that has undoubtedly changed Melbourne’s landscape forever.

“Federation Square has given a civic and cultural destination to central Melbourne – the ’homepage’ for the city, so to speak,” says Bates of the development.


Federation Square

“It has shown that it is possible to create an active, engaging, inclusive space in the 21st century. It has produced a civic, cultural and commercial destination as the new ’heart’ of Melbourne.”

There are countless discoveries in store for visitors to Federation Square as part of The Sound of Buildings.

“There’s the irregular grid that off-sets and shifts the alignment of buildings and structures so that unexpected vistas and visual connections emerge across the site,” Bates explains.

“There are the qualities of each building group – NGV, ACMI and SBS, the South Yarra building, the Atrium and BMW Edge, the X-Bar, the 7 or 8 shards distributed across the site, the Transport building and the Plaza itself, and how the scale and massing of these opens up to create a great deal of permeability across the site.


“The buildings are destinations as well as means of passage across the site – from the City to the River, or from East to West.

“And then there are the details – at the level of façade and landscape materials. The subtle patterns and compositions that have been designed for the fractal façades of the main buildings, and the quality of the stones and their variety used on the undulating plaza,” says Bates.

“In many ways, some of the ’surprise’ will lie in the discover – over time – of the complex alignments brought around by a non-standard geometry.

“Whether in the intra-filament spaces of the NGV, or outside along the folding façade of the NGV or ACMI, or the glass walkway around the southern end of the BMW Edge, or the arcades of the Alfred Deakin Building.”

The free Sound of Buildings app can be downloaded via the Apple store and State of Design website from 21 July. Click here for more information on the event. 


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