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Melbourne Convention Center

One element of my tour of Melbourne that really surprised me was how much I liked the new Melbourne Convention Center by Hamish Lyon of NH Architecture and Nik Karalis of Woods Bagot

I think the most important thing architect Hamish Lyon told me about the new Melbourne Convention Center was that he wanted it to become a part of the city's architectural scheme, embraced by locals as another landmark to which they'll become attached, and understood by visitors as more than just a place where large groups of dentists get together. "The overriding thing for us," he told me, "is that we want people to feel the very clear shock that this is not a typical convention center. I want them to feel that it's more like a concert hall or a museum. And we want them to feel that it's a part of Melbourne."

Image courtesy Peter Bennetts.

Before meeting Lyon I stopped in for a light breakfast at Cumulus Inc., a nice little cafe with identity by Round, the design firm that incidentally designed a book, The Private Life of Public Architecture, that documents the construction of the Convention Center. We chatted in his Flinders Lane offices before I went to the tour of the new Docklands facility, and we discussed his vision for the building, the origins of its "pineapple wall," how it managed to win a six out of six stars in the Green Building Council of Australia's Green Star rating system, and why convention centers are usually so unutterably lousy. Check out the slideshow for a great view of the new Convention Center (it's only opened this year) and to see what Lyon has to say about the project.

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