Ahead of its time
Architect Barry Patten, a member of the leading Australian architectural firm, Yuncken Freeman Brothers, Griffiths and Simpson, is responsible for creating this excellent example of the late 20th century style. This style is characterised by its large-scale, free, sculptural curved spaces that float above the site. The design and structural achievement of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl was nearly 10 years ahead of similar work by German architect/engineer, Frei Otto, and his experiments in using lightweight tensile and membrane structures.
To make the sound shell both watertight and aerodynamically stable and flexible, new construction techniques were developed. When built, it was one of a small number of structures in Australia to combine a tensile structural system with a free-form roof and was the most important of these in terms of scale, sophistication and structural expression.
The music bowl was named after its benefactor, Sidney Myer, a Russian immigrant who arrived in Victoria in 1899 and went on to establish one of Australia's largest retail businesses and to become one of the nation's most significant philanthropists.
Prime Minister Robert Menzies opened the venue in February 1959. Since then, Melbourne's first major purpose-built, live outdoor cultural venue has been drawing both artists and crowds of up to 200,000 patrons.
Australian architecture in the 20th century
Australia's fashions in architecture and engineering have been influenced by overseas trends since European settlement began in 1788. In the 20th century, traditional architectural boundaries were challenged and new ways of doing things explored. Architecture from this period, both in Australia and overseas, bears testament to this time of experimentation.
In the late 20th century architects, engineers and planners in Australian capital cities were among the first to find and introduce innovative architectural ways of expressing community, corporate and business optimism, in both private and government sector projects. This transformation gained momentum as Australia emerged from the Depression and two world wars.
Before you download
Some documents are available as PDF files. You will need a PDF reader to view PDF files.
List of PDF readers
If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.
Links to another web site
Opens a pop-up window