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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I reckon Collins Place is kinda the overlooked middle child of Melbourne's first wave of really-tallies - after the groundbreaking Nauru House and before the classic Rialto.

It has a lot going for it - designed by IM Pei's firm with locals Bates Smart & McCutcheon, it's a pretty massive presence on the eastern skyline and has survived almost completely intact all the way to the street since it was built 1970-80.

Not everyone's favourite - it was a huge statement clearing almost a whole block at the Paris End of Collins St - love it or hate it, you can't ignore it. It reminds some people of the World Trade Centre towers. And it's brown, which you don't get much of in Melbs.

Here's my little photo essay from last weekend. I didn't bother schlepping up to the amazing sky-high atrium, but I'm sure someone has some pics of it.

Enjoy...



From the Treasury Gardens









Towering over Spring St







This 'un sure ain't set back from Collins St...









Collins St frontage





The first of the space frames - the entrance to the Sofitel driveway





And, what's down this driveway...





Mmmmm....brown







She's weathering nicely





Class...







The main entrance off Collins - more space frame







Fronting Exhibition St







This was a long time before Melbourne's lanes and little streets were anything other than glorified loading bays - this is Flinders Lane, with no compromise to the street, just a car-park and a whole lotta concrete. Ugh.





The recent tweaks at the corner of Exhibition and Flinders Lane made a stab at breaking into this soulless wall with a - what else? - cafe/eatery. It's still a dark, windswept spot, tho.





One of the only original entrances off Flinders Lane





Make no mistake - this is a massive building










Back on Collins St







Inside the main atrium - the Great Space. This was renovated about 10 years back, but it's pretty faithful to the 70s original.











Looking out to Collins St





...and peering into the hotel lobby





Gotta love that space frame - Aus's biggest?





And - wow! - glass lifts. Melbourne's first?





Old and new(er), on Collins St





She really dominates the view up the Collins St hill







And three looking out from the hotel windows, including a view of the western tower in the third one.









So, what say you - Collins Place, hot or not?



deebs
 

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always lost
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Nice pics of a pair of overloooked buildings. I'll always have a soft spot for Collins Place, mainly 'cos I'm old enough to remember when it was all new, and also because they stopped Melbourne looking like a sundial when Nauru House was the only tall.

Hot? No, definitely not. But they have their place in the skyline.
 

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A classic pair of Melbourne high-rises.

Although I've never been up there, I understand the hotel has an internal atrium about a dozen storeys high in the top of the East Tower. You seem to have gone well up: did you capture this?
 

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Absolutely stunning interior, but i don't exactly agree that the exterior is HOT.
It definitely fits in to the skyline, like our own mini twin towers, even though they are not exactly identical.
I like these towers, they are classically beautiful like other buildings that have shaped Melbourne today :)



if that makes sense ??
 

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Ripper photos.

Individually ugly, but definitely big and tall, and they add a lot to the skyline. The symmetry of having two very similar towers next to each other adds a lot.
The main atrium downstairs is not bad, and with the two towers imposing above its quite a sight.
 

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Out of the two towers i like the east tower the most.
As seen from the Treasury Gardens, the way the windows form from the 36th floor up, the tower appears to loom taller from ground level in a way the west tower doesnt.
As for heritage value, the hotel atrium is stunning, it should never be altered or changed in any way, the cocktail bar located under the glass roof on the 36th floor is full on most nights of the week with many heads looking skyward.
The glass lifts in the ''Great Space'' should also be listed, i think they where a 1st for Melbourne after the crappy glass lifts at the old Greensborough Shopping centre.
Its sad to think of what was demolished for these 2 towers, but i would be sad to see Collins Place nocked down, they are so much part of the fabric of Melbourne today imo..
 

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Obviously a great view from the top ... especiallly to the SW, but maybe it depends what you want to see.

I love 101 & 120 Collins Street: particularly for the way they puncture the skyline. But for boxes, these were classy: especially on account of the internal space within. My other favourites for cubistic towers: the old AMP tower on the SW corner of Bourke & William; and the ANZ Tower in Queens Street.

Great photos of the interior there. Must be one of the four or five largest contiguous covered spaces in Melbourne.

Looking out:

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, all.

I didn't take any pics of the atrium - don't know what i was thinking! It's a very impressive space.

I wasn't a fan of these towers for a long time, but I'm warming to them. My first job was at the Herald-Sun building back in the day, and I'd grab a bit of breakfast in the Great Space of a morning, which gives me a soft spot for it.



deebs
 

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I'm definately giving it a 'not' vote.
This is an uninsipiring complex of two plain boxes, and that makes little attempt to integrate at street level. It lacks soul and is not sympathetic to its surroundings. It should open up to Little Flinders St with some cafes and boutiques.
The only class is in it's retail offerings, which is the only reason why I'd go there.
 

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Hot - 80's Working Girl sheik....amazing old school Japanese Restaurant in there too, faithul to its original 80's interior - too cool.
 

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its the atrium that makes this soooooo sexy. it reminds me of NY. true classic 80's elegance, i hope it never changes.

As for the exterior... blah.
 

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I'm pissed off about the amount of buildings they replaced. They should have limited the amount of heritage street frontage that was demolished a la 120 collins. Even some facadism would have been preferable.

Does anyone have a pano of what was replaced...Mr Collector??;)
 

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^^ Ask and you will be rewarded..............

Text from Melbourne Architecture

Collins Place
45 Collins Street, Melbourne
1970-80 Harry Cobb (IM Pei) in association with
Bates Smart & McCutcheon

In the 1970s, Collins Place represented the dramatic consequences of the consolidation of numerous sites in the CBD where the final complex could entirely change the quality and scale of an existing urban character and streetscape.
The twin tower concept, one housing an international hotel and the other originally housing the headquarters of the ANZ Bank, was joined at ground level by a sunken plaza roofed by the wonder structure of the 1970s, the space frame.



Slide I took of the east end of Melbourne back in 1982 showing the huge impact Collins Place had on the Skyline. :shock:



Photograph I took in early 2004 showing Collins Place between the 101 and 120 Collins Street buildings.


Atrium of The Sofitel Hotel in Collins Place.

Below, five recent photographs I've taken of Collins Place.













East end of Collins Street ~ early 1960s.

All the buildings you see in this postcard were demolished to make way for Collins Place.
 

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Hot :)
 

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I think we've come far enough now that these two are almost retro enough and old enough to be considered kind of cool....and they are.
Not the prettiest things but I friggin love the 80's interior and so does Wallpaper* magazine which did a little story on Collins Place not too long ago.
 

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I said love, I said pet
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I love Collins Place. They are quintessentially Melbourne and, by virtue of their looks, function over form. They are not the best looking buildings but add greatly the 'Gotham' feel of the eastern CBD. I love how most of the majors in this area are of a very similar height.

Stayed in the Sofitel earlier this year and would highly recommend it. The public domain inside the center is dated (gold and beige everywhere) but this adds to its appeal for me. Very of its time. Agreed that some of the street interfaces are disastrous. Great that there are cinemas in the complex and the ground and lower floors never close to the public.

Dust storm in the early 80's:
 
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