The Arts Centre Melbourne Spire is an iconic landmark in the Melbourne Skyline.

The Arts Centre Melbourne is located next to the Queen Victoria Gardens and along the Yarra River banks in Melbourne, Australia. It hosts major Melbourne performances including Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet, the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The concert Hall opened in November 1982 and the theaters building was officially opened in October of 1984.

The Arts Centre Melbourne has been Melbourne’s leading venue for world-class theater, dance and music but the entertainment doesn’t stop at the stage. There are restaurants, cafes and bars on site and the Sunday Market showcases local artisan’s unique handmade goods.

The Golden Webbing

The cap on top of the arts center is a spectacular gold webbing. The golden webbing has alternating flowing curved sections and straight diamond patterns that are meant to simulate the flowing folds of a ballerina’s tutu.

The Arts Center’s Iconic Spire

The Arts Centre Melbourne’s giant spire has made the building a landmark for Melbourne’s city center. The spire reaches 162 meters (531 ft.) into the sky making it easily seen from most places around the central city.

Originally, the spire was only 115 meters but it was replaced with the current spire in the mid-1990s. The new design includes a network of dramatic night-time lighting that includes:

  • 6,600 meters of fiber-optic tubing
  • 17,700 meters of power and control cables 
  • 14,000 bud lights on its skirt
  • 150 meters of neon tubing on the mast
  • 496 computer control devices to manipulate the colors and movement of the lights
  • 900 power and control plugs.

The design of the spire was influenced by the Eiffel Tower but it has a more modern streamline design. The resemblance to the Eiffel Tower is obvious in the photos below but it has its own distinct design.

Venues at the Arts Centre Melbourne

The arts center complex has a main concert hall and three theaters along with some outdoor entertainment.

The main concert venue is the Hamer Hall which has multi-level seating that accommodates 2,500 people. The concert hall has performances that features jazz, rock, pop, multicultural, classical and contemporary music.

The Playhouse Theater seats up to 884 people and has aboriginal artworks in its foyer. It is a performance space specifically designed for drama but it also can host and orchestra for dance, musical comedy and a chamber opera.

The State Theater seats 2,085 and has one of the largest stages in the world. The theater features dance and Broadway musicals, ballet and grand opera productions. A unique feature in this theater is the ceiling which is decorated with 75,000 tiny brass domes.

The Fairfax Studio is an intimate 376 seat drama space that hosts the work of the Melbourne Theater Company and other smaller contemporary productions.

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the Kings Domain Garden is an outdoor venue. It hosts Carols by Candlelight (annual Australian Christmas tradition), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s free summer series along with other concerts and performance throughout the year.

Beautiful Day or Night

The Arts Centre Melbourne is a beautiful sight along the Yarra River either during the day or at night time.

The Dust on My Shoes

I have always been a fan of the arts. I enjoy theater, dance, various genres music and comedy but I prefer the smaller venues because the setting feels like it is a more personal performance.

During my travels I have been a little surprised to see the unique architectural styles of the art center complexes around the world. The most famous arts center is probably the Sydney Opera House but there are many other arts centers around the world that have very unique architectural styles. In additions to the Arts Centre Melbourne, some of the art centers that I have seen are:

  • The Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia
  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt – Berlin, Germany
  • Performing Arts Center – Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tenerife Art Center – Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Spain
  • APAC Art Center – Da Nang, Vietnam

I am sure that there are many other beautifully designed arts centers that I have yet to discover but hopefully I will have a chance to not only see them but also see a local production.

I have been to a few performances during my travels and they have always been enjoyable but they are normally a little different because of the diverse cultural styles.

With a little planning, seeing a local show in a unique setting can be an enjoyable part of your trip!

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