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Architecture and Culture

Context of Royal Exhibition Centre Analysis

The famous Royal Exhibition Centre was made by Joseph Reed, from the firm of Reed and Barnes in the year 1880. It is situated in Carlton on the peripheral grid of the Melbourne CBD. The architecture of the building was induced by the Victorian theme. The dome of the building was a replica of the cathedral dome in Florence. the gardens around the building called the Carlton gardens were induced by the Gardenesque style. The building has its significance that it is the only building in Melbourne from the exhibition movement worldwide. The Royal Exhibition building named it as Melbourne International Exhibition Building originally. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage-listed building in the country. At that time, it was the only building to be the largest one in Australia and at the highest altitude in Melbourne. It has very large entranceways that allow a very commodious place for people to socially interact and attend public events.


This noval piece of architecture has a Great Hall which stretches is boundaries from east to west. In the north, there is a transept and in the South, it has a shortened trance. These directions have the main entrance to the building. The whole structure of the building is in a proportioned way because of its all of the four areas being horizontally composed. This is also because of the fact the north and south are much wider than the east and west. Overall it showed a proportionate form of structure. 

The four pirches on either of the sides gives the required distance from the ground to the structure and highlights its unique characteristic of having semi-circular fanlights. The wide-open space in the inside of the building gives a voluminous view to the viewer. The open roof is being supported by wooden trusses, gives a very considerable view to the viewer. The rest of the place is structured with square columns made by wood in a synchronised configuration with the girders of frames, leaving the viewers in awe.


the city of Melbourne during the 19th century was augmented with the gold rush. This made Melbourne be very populous settlements. Adjacent to this, the International Exhibitions were being conducted around the globe to highlight the new goods, technologies and innovations. Further to this, they were inclined to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and cultures. “It meant Victoria was opening up to the world, showing the world what we were capable of producing, and encouraging them to see our wealth,” says Dr Charlotte Smith of Museum Victoria, author of Visions of Colonial Grandeur"At the same time, it was an opportunity for us to see the world, everything from glass to locomotives and works of art." (Gadd 2015). To make its contribution to the new era of developing countries, the Australian government permitted the new Exhibition Building in 1878. In the Great Hall, the International Exhibition was compered spreading the exhibition in 22 acres of land.

Design Style and Architecture

Influenced by the Victorian design, the structure of the building has many sumptuous features of interests. At the inception of Parliament in the year 1901, the roof of the internal structure and the dome was smothered with a colour that could replicate with the colour of the sky with the pendentives covered with many frescoes. To the south, there is a formal symmetrical structure, at the centre is a porch and on either of the sides a towering square pavilion. The semi-circular fan in the exudes the different rays of light across the entire structure.

This structure is influenced much by Reed's voyage to Europe in mid-century. The result of it is the assemblage of different unique elements of different eras. The design of the structure is mainly stemmed from Rundbogenstil which is an amalgamation of European architectural history and classical Greek history and other artefacts of the 19 century. The windows, doors frames and the entire layout of the building are all influenced by the Roman architecture. The contribution of Greek architecture is depicted in the entrance design of the western and eastern portions. It consists of Corinthian pilasters with a finishing touch of the entablature which is a combination of architecture, frieze and cornice. 

Another feature of interest is the model of Brunelleschi’s dome on the Florence cathedral. It is made up of timer-frame and double-shelled dome. It is octagonal, with its drum leaping out from a base in the shape of the square which is due to the crossing of four arms of the cross plan.

Planning and Construction

“The State Government of Victoria owns the Royal Exhibition Building and the Carlton Gardens. In 1996, the Museums Act 1983 (Victoria) vested the general control, administration and management of the Exhibition land, including the Royal Exhibition Building, in the Museum's Board of Victoria." (Walder 2019). The design of the building had to be simple and also to be made easily for the International Exhibition in 1880. The base of the structure is made of bluestone, the roof and the dome is made of wood and shielded with steel and slate. The doors and windows are built from timber. The structure is itself a unique one and is incomparable with any of the structures.

References for Royal Exhibition Centre Analysis

Gadd, N. 2015. “The Royal Exhibition building of 'Marvellous Melbourne': A history of cities in 50 buildings, day 10.” The Guardian, April 6, 2015.

Walder, Liz. History, Design, and Legacy: Architectural Prizes and Awards: An Academic Investigation of the Royal Institute of British Architects'(RIBA) Royal Gold Medal. Wordctacher Publishing, 2019.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Architecture Assignment Help

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