Arts Centre Melbourne, originally known as the Victorian Arts Centre and briefly officially called The Arts Centre, is a performing arts centre consisting of a complex of theatres and concert halls in the Melbourne Arts Precinct, located in the central Melbourne suburb of Southbank in Victoria, Australia.
Melbourne Art Centre designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds, the master plan for the complex (along with the National Gallery of Victoria) was approved in 1960 and construction began in 1973 following some delays. The complex opened in stages, with Hamer Hall opening in 1982 and the Theatres Building opening in 1984.
The Arts Centre is located by the Yarra River and along St Kilda Road, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, and extends into the Melbourne Arts Precinct.
As with a church steeple or spire, the purpose of the Arts Centre Spire is symbolic, providing a visual feature and signpost for the entire complex.Sir Roy Grounds’ 115-metre space frame design included spectacular gold webbing around its lower section, stimulating the folds of a ballerina’s tutu. As a result of increasing structural deterioration of the original upper spire structure, with cracks discovered in four of its 12 largest stainless steel nodes, the centre trust’s engineering advisers recommended the upper spire be replaced.
Completed on January12, 1996, the new spire reaches 162 metres above St Kilda Road with a 10-metre mast at its peak.The spire, with the capacity to create images that will glow, sparkle and twinkle, has 6600 metres of fibre optic tubing, 17,700 metres of power and control cables, 14,000 incandescent lamps, 150 metres of neon tubing on the mast alone, 496 computer control devices to manipulate the colours and movement of the lights, and 900 power and control plugs.The true symbol of Australian performing arts is that tubular, yellow, vaguely Parision, vaguely phallic thing that perches atop our Arts Centre.