800px-Fed Square
Federation Square


Public Space


26 October 2002


8.41 million


All year

Federation Square (also colloquially known as Fed Square) is a civic centre and cultural precinct in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was opened in 2002.

It is a mixed-use development covering an area of 3.2 hectares and centred around two major public spaces: open squares (St. Paul's Court and The Square) and one covered (The Atrium), built on top of a concrete deck above busy railway lines. It is located at intersection between Flinders Street and Swanston Street/St Kilda Road in Melbourne's Central Business District, and is adjacent to Melbourne's busiest railway station, Flinders Street Station.

Despite having over 9 million visits in 2011 it is sometimes considered to be one of the world's ugliest buildings or tourist attractions.

Melbourne Visitor CentreEdit

[1][2]Flinders Street Station and the stunted glass Eastern Shard, entry to the Melbourne Visitor CentreThe Melbourne Visitor Centre is located underground with its entrance at the main corner shard directly opposite Flinders Street Station and St Pauls Cathedral and its exit at the opposite shard. The entrance and exit shards feature interactive news tickers in colour LEDs and small screens promoting current activities. The Visitor Centre was intended to replace a facility which was previously located at the turn of the 19th Century town hall administration buildings on Swanston Street.

BMW Edge AmphitheatreEdit

[3][4]BMW Edge Theatre seatingInside the same shell as the atrium is the BMW Edge theatre, a 450 seat space designed to have views of the Yarra River and across to the spire of The Arts Centre. The theatre is lined in wood veneer in similar geometrical patterns to other interiors in the complex.

 Zinc - Function and Event CentreEdit

Zinc is a premiere event and function center located next to the BMW Edge theatre. It is primarily popular with corporate events, weddings and ceremonies.

National Gallery of VictoriaEdit

[5][6]Ian Potter Centre entryThe Ian Potter Centre houses the Australian part of the art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), and is located at Federation Square (international works are displayed at the NGV International on St Kilda Rd). There are over 20,000 Australian artworks, including paintings, sculpture, photography, fashion and textiles, and the collection is the oldest and most well known in the country.

Well-known works at the Ian Potter Centre include Frederick McCubbin's Pioneers (1904) and Tom Roberts' Shearing the Rams (1890). Also featured are works from Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Margaret Preston and Fred Williams. Indigenous art includes works by William Barak and Emily Kngwarreye.

The National Gallery at Federation Square also features NGV Kids Corner which is an interactive education section aimed at small children and families and the "NGV Studio".

 ACMI – Australian Centre for the Moving ImageEdit

Main article: Australian Centre for the Moving ImageAustralian Centre for the Moving ImageThe Australian Centre for the Moving Image has two cinemas that are equipped to play every film, video and digital video format, with attention to high quality acoustics. The screen gallery, built along the entire length of what was previously a train station platform, is a subterranean gallery for experimentation with the moving image. Video art, installations, interactives, sound art and net art are all regularly exhibited in this space. Additional venues within ACMI allow computer-based public education, and other interactive presentations.

In 2003, ACMI commissioned SelectParks to produce an interactive game-based, site specific installation called AcmiPark. AcmiPark replicates and abstracts the real world architecture of Federation Square. It also houses highly innovative mechanisms for interactive, multi-player sound and musical composition.

Transport Hotel BarEdit

Transport hotel and bar is a three level hotel complex adjacent to the southern shard on the south western corner of the square. It has a ground floor public bar, restaurant and cocktail lounge on the rooftop.

SBS Television and Radio HeadquartersEdit

[7][8]SBS headquartersMain article: Special Broadcasting ServiceThe Melbourne television and radio headquarters of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), one of Australia's two publicly funded national broadcasters is in one of the office buildings along Flinders Street.

Melbourne Festival HeadquartersEdit

Main article: Melbourne International Arts FestivalThe headquarters of Melbourne Festival (formerly Melbourne International Arts Festival) are located on Level 2 of the Yarra Building.

Beer AwardsEdit

Federation Square has recently become home to several beer award shows, and tastings, including the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) trade and public shows as well as other similar events such as showcases of local and other Australian breweries. These events have been held in the square's indoor outdoor area the Atrium and usually require an entry fee in exchange for a set number of tastings.

Past TenantsEdit

Past tenants have included:

  • "Champions" – The Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
  • National Design Centre

 Reception and RecognitionEdit

[9][10]A tram on Flinders Street, with the East Shard and the ACMI building in the background.In 2009, Virtual Tourist awarded Federation Square with the title of the 'World's Fifth Ugliest Building.'[3] Criticisms of it ranged from its damage to the heritage vista to its similarity to a bombed-out war-time bunker due to its "army camouflage" colours. A judge from Virtual Tourist justified Federation Square's ranking on the ugly list claiming that: "Frenzied and overly complicated, the chaotic feel of the complex is made worse by a web of unsightly wires from which overhead lights dangle."[16] It continues to be a "pet hate" of Melburnians and was recently discussed on ABC's Art Nation[17]

After its opening on 26 October 2002,[11] Federation Square remained controversial among Melburnians due to its unpopular architecture, but also because of its successive cost blow outs and construction delays (as its name suggests, it was to have opened in time for the centenary of Australian Federation on 1 January 2001). The construction manager was Multiplex.[18]

The designers of Federation Square did not get any work for six months after the completion of the A$450 million public space, but did receive hate-mail from people who disliked the design.[19]

Federation Square won five awards in 2003 at the Victorian Architecture Awards, including the Victorian Architecture Medal.[20] The Australian Financial Review later reported that Melburnians have learned to love the building, citing the record number of people using and visiting it.[21] In 2005, the New York-based Project for Public Spaces named it one of "The World's Best Squares",[22] and in 2005 it was included on The Atlantic Cities' 2011 list of "10 Great Central Plazas and Squares".[

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