Opened in 2002 to commemorate 100 years of federation in Australia, Federation Square lies in the very heart of Melbourne, adjacent to the Flinders Street railway station and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its ultra-modern design stands juxtaposed against the surrounding Victorian architecture and is comprised of open spaces, museums and cultural institutions. Regular events and concerts are held here throughout the year, with a giant screen that broadcasts major sporting events and public announcements. Federation Square is also the largest site of free Wi-Fi anywhere in Australia.
Federation Square is home to the Ian Pottery Gallery that houses the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. There are more than 20,000 artworks covering media ranging from paintings and sculpture to fashion, textiles and photography, with notable works by Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Sidney Nolan.
It’s also where the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is found, featuring video art, installations and interactive exhibitions. The museum’s Screen Gallery is built along the entire length of what was once a train station platform and presents all manner of film and digital video formats coupled with outstanding acoustics.
These buildings form a U-shape around an open-air square, with the eastern end home to The Atrium, a lane way-inspired space that is made from exposed metal and glazed walls. White bluestone is used for the paving throughout the Atrium and St. Paul’s Court to match the footpaths of central Melbourne, while the main square is made from ochre colored sandstone blocks that are reminiscent of The Outback. The square is framed by three shards that are clad in metal and glass, while an elevated pedestrian promenade extends along the riverfront and is planted with Australian eucalypts and tree ferns.