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Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Tuesday 03 Feb 2009

Melbourne Recital Centre reaches its finale

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23/11/10 Simon Thornton, Melbourne
This editorial and these comments do nothing more than scratch the surface with respect to this remarkable building. Perhaps it is best to list a number of questions to get the brain cells into some kind of activity: Is the form of this building derived from the polystyrene and bubble wrap packaging around consumer goods? Is the 'room' itself representative of a space powerfully embedded in our Western cultural history? How can a vessel designed to contain an ephemeral performance be eloquent about the reality that, once the act is over, only recordings remain, and the moment itself is gone for ever? Are the symmetrical contour map curves on the walls of the room merely acoustic or are they literal representations of something? Why do they sometimes appear like grotesque body parts? What role should literal representation play in architecture? Readers of WAN who have an interest in architecture beyond high-tech genre or built eco-puritanism would do well to investigate the work of Ashton Raggatt McDougall.
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16/02/09 Alex Njoo, Melbourne Australia
ARM, the Tsaikovsky of Modern Australian architecture has done it again, recycling old ideas onto attempts to creaearchitectural work of symphonic proportions. The new Melbourne Recital Centre is not Utzon's Opera House, but then Melbourne doesn't have Sydney's grand harbour vistas, tucked almost behind Grounds's National Gallery of Victoria, the new building is just another addition the the evolving interesting streetscape of Melbourne. Great it is not, albeit interestingly topical until such a time when architectural fashion moves on to other gimmickries.
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10/02/09 Seymour Auerbach, Chevy Chase, MD
What the devil does that crapulated exterior have to do with the expression of a concert hall? It's the expression of a comuter user gone wild with self congratulating giggles!


Building works complete on Australian music venue 

Australia’s cultural portfolio is significantly boosted this week with the official opening of the Melbourne Recital Centre. Designed as a collaboration between design architects, Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) and acoustics experts Arup Acoustics, the project was funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment.

ARM struggled initially with their inclination to avoid the classical ‘shoe-box’ form, known to predict acoustic perfection, in favour of a more architecturally expressive design. But in the end the classic shape was explored further and in their words, “The resolution of the Hall becomes one of the creation of room-ness, a remarkable room of spectacle, surface and sound.”

“The fusion of architectural and acoustic design throughout the development of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall has produced a visually and aurally exciting hall,” adds a design statement from Arup Acoustics. “Based on the proportions of the classic shoe-box shaped European concert hall, the geometry has been enhanced to provide greater acoustic intimacy and improved sightlines for the entire audience.”

The project’s acoustics have been played as central to the design. An entirely timber interior turns the hall into an instrument in itself adding an architectural bass to performances. The organic texture diffuses sound throughout to reverberate with clarity and strength.

“Today is a proud moment for us and for the hundreds of people who brought this extraordinary project to fruition,” said Melbourne Recital Centre Chairman Jim Cousins AO.

"Australia now has one of the finest acoustically designed halls in the world, and a new arts company that will expand the performance and appreciation of ensemble music in ways not yet seen in this country. We congratulate the Victorian Government for this, its newest addition to Melbourne’s internationally admired cultural precinct.”

Niki May Young
News Editor

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Ashton Raggatt McDougall

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