CLOSED – Triumph of the City


The random number generator at selected the winners: They are Tanya (Majorca building) and Markus (Nauru House).


I’ve got two copies of Edward Glaeser’s brilliant new book, Triumph of the City, to give away to readers this month, courtesy of publisher Pan Macmillan Australia.

Edward Glaeser is a professor at Harvard and in my opinion is the world’s “go to” man for research on cities. I’ve mentioned his work many times before on these pages (e.g. see here). This brief video shows him discussing Triumph of the City with The Daily Show’s John Stewart.

I hate giveaways where you have to do any work, like write x words on this or that inane topic. So I’ll determine who gets the two books entirely randomly. Everyone will have the same chance. All I ask is that you nominate your favourite building in Melbourne – the quality of your choice won’t have any influence on your chance of winning but it will help me get together a list of favoured buildings.

To enter, just respond by commenting below, nominating your favourite Melbourne building. One entry only per person, please. Entries close Saturday July 31 30, at midday. I’ll announce the winners here and e-mail them direct. They’ll have to give me or Macmillan Australia (privately) an address to post the book to. Apologies to international readers but due to Australia’s ridiculously high postage costs, they can enter but they can’t win (unless they’ve got access to an Australian address). The books will be sent direct to the winners by Pan Macmillan Australia.

I read Triumph of the City a few months ago (I already have my own copy which I got in the US) and it’s a book worth reading and worth having. As the New York Times Reviewer wrote, you’ll “walk away dazzled by the greatness of cities and fascinated by this writer’s nimble mind”.

51 Comments on “CLOSED – Triumph of the City”

  1. Tanya says:

    Oooh, it’s a tough one to decide on just one building…..but I will say the Majorca Building. It’s always held a facsination for me, long before it was renovated and when the area had no cafes or street life to speak of.

  2. Michael says:

    I love the Exhibition Building. I have my Uni exams in there, and its very hard to focus on the paper when I’m surrounded by all the beautiful architecture!

  3. thomasthethinkengine says:

    Flinders Street station. It’s daggy these days and so much smaller than the icons around it, but the number of people going through it means it has amazing vitality.

  4. […] do is nominate your favourite Melbourne building, but the winners will be selected randomly. Go to this page to enter or see PAGES menu in the side […]

  5. Like other people, I find it hard to choose but how about the Melbourne Town Hall? Not only the seat of Melbourne local government and its rich tales, but home to wonderful music, important public debates, and the Comedy Festival. An internal Federation Square.

  6. david roman says:

    alan my fave Melbourne building is the MCG having walked around it and remembering its role and when it was built for the Olympic games pretty schmicko i reckon!!

    and yes i’d love a copy of the book!!

  7. Matthew says:

    The MCG – sacred ground where the 1997 and 1998 AFL Premiers the Adelaide Crows reminded all Victorians that Go West was not just a 1980s pop band, but something to aspire to.

    Glaeser’s book would be interesting since he’s an economist and a conservative and whether such a wee beastie has anything insightful to say about cities. From the example chapter he looks a bit like he’s sick with a bad case of the Corbusiers, but clean air and visible horizons can cure such an ill.

  8. mdonnellan63 says:

    Argus Building, Elizabeth & Latrobe Streets – mostly empty for years, often overlooked and (ironically) probably protected from demolition by its asbestos content. I haven’t been in town for ages, so don’t know what colour it is these days, but was once a really horrible green.

  9. Roger says:

    Many buildings stand out in Melbourne because you see them regularly. To me a real standout building with a history is one that you only see when you go to the Melbourne University Parkville campus and that’s the ‘Old Quad’

  10. srad says:

    (old) NGV on st kilda rd.
    its got gravitas and is like a castle protecting its treasures.

  11. David Miller says:

    I have many favourite Melbourne buildings, but for sentimental reasons would nominate the Princess Theatre. Saw my first full-scale musical production, Oliver, there in the mid-1960s. For a young boy at the time, the experience of going to this theatre was simply magical.

  12. Will says:

    CH2 – It is new and green. What all new buildings should be like.

  13. S. Perera says:

    Manchester Unity building

    Alternatively, the Collins St frontage extending from the cnr of Elizabeth ST and incorporating the Block Arcade – a fantastic row of buildings reflecting Melbourne’s rich architectural history.

  14. Robert says:

    The Fitzroy High School Building, because it is sympathetic to its surroundings, whilst still being a great example of modern, 21st Century Melbourne.

  15. Des says:

    Have to say my favourite Melbourne building is the NGV International, St. Kilda Rd. It has a brooding presence and is something of a monolith, a uniform wall that manages to look menacing and imposing without overpowering the area.

  16. Nathan Alexander says:

    Alan, I’m going to nominate two, for what they give to the public realm! Firstly, the Melbourne Town Hall. Having walked past it for years, I kept on seeing new details in it every time I took a close look. Secondly, Nonda Katsalidis’ Melbourne Terrace, on the corner of Queen and Franklin by the Vic Market. Modern, huumanly scaled, great interest at ground level, innovative use of materials, not afraid of ornamentation, plus a great sense of sculpural form. One a public use by the government sector, one a private use by the private sector. Both buildings are great examples of contributing to the public realm.

  17. Colin Bostock says:

    Without a doubt it has to be the Manchester Unity Building. I take all my visitors to Melbourne to see this iconic building.

  18. Mat Garner says:

    I’d have to nominate the Forum Theatre – probably as much for the many amazing gigs I’ve witnessed at the venue over the years as for its strong shabby-chic presence on Flinders St that just screams Melbourne.

  19. Michael says:

    Former Melbourne Safe Deposit Building in Queen Street.

  20. KT says:

    I’m quite a fan of Monaco House (McBRide Charles Ryan), an gem of building tucked into a lane I don’t even know the name of! The block is bound by Collins, Lt Collins, Spring and Exhibition streets. The lane is a handy cut-through between Collins and Lt Collins, even though the dog-leg bend makes it look like a dead end. I like the way the building seems to be unfolding.

  21. Joseph says:

    probably the Heide II building. Beautiful modernist house- definitely the type of place I’m going to get when i move out of my parents’ house.

  22. Moss says:

    My favourite is the City of Melbourne Buildings: 112 – 118 Elizabeth St. It’s out the window from my office. Built late 1880s in an eclectic Victorian style – it’s so endearing and eccentric that it looks like it could be out of a scary movie. Hopefully someone will repair the crumbling façade one of these days – definitely needs some repair.

  23. PK says:

    It’s pretty hard to choose a favourite when there are so many possible sub-categories (public, private, large, small, aesthetic, functional…)

    Although I’ve never been inside, making it hard to judge how well the building ‘actually’ works, there’s something about the design of Nonda Katsalidis Republic Tower that I really like.
    Like most of their work it’s quite an interesting and ‘smart’ building, without being too showy.

  24. mark says:

    Manchester Unity Building. It speaks so clearly about the optimism of that era.

  25. Peter Hill says:

    Exhibition Building. What Sydney lost when the Garden Palace burnt down, a secular interior of great scale.

  26. Mike says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I’d have to say parliament house- very stately, very old world. What a shame they didn’t end up putting the dome on it!

  27. Dave says:

    My own home – recycled part of a 1960’s suburban house with a modern facelift and extension over the last 12 months. It encapsulates my own design style and what I Iove (family and treasures), and I smile and enjoy it every day.

  28. RED says:

    Princess Mary Club in Lonsdale Street. It’s criminal the way this art deco gem has been allowed to fall apart by the Uniting Church.

  29. Markus says:

    I nominate Nauru House.

  30. Alex says:

    I nominate the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) just behind the VCA in Southbank.

  31. Kieran says:

    Too many to choose from but maybe the State Library, because of the amazing reading space inside the dome.

  32. Kate says:

    So many great Theatres – The Forum Theatre, The Princess Theatre, The Regent, The Palais… these places transfer you to another time and place whenever you visit. Buildings with such character and history and an adaptability to new forms of entertainment means they are continually engaging new audiences with their internal delights.

  33. Adam says:

    Eureka, for its sheer visibility from most of the inner city, and glittering twinkle when the sun reflects of the gold paneling.

  34. Daniel says:

    Melbourne has so many buildings that I love, but only one has made me spend 10 minutes looking for a parking spot, to get out and see it properly (still only from the street though). Beverly Hills apartment building in South Yarra.

  35. Like most people above I find it very hard to choose one. So many different eras, functions, spaces and forms to choose from!

    I think for the sake of this I’ll have to say the stunning art-deco McDonalds in Clifton Hill.

    I would love to know what it looked like inside when it was still a pub, but that exterior still looks amazing even with the horrible Golden Arches spoiling the view. The other art-deco buildings on the block add to the overall feel of the area too.

  36. Matthew Gordon says:

    A bit of a bias but my favourite building is EPA Victoria’s Headquarters- 200 Victoria St, Carlton.

  37. Myriam Robin says:

    The Art Gallery. For the waterfall I see everytime I go past it.

  38. Noah says:

    333 collins street because it is unique in Melbourne

  39. Peter Parker says:

    Southern Cross Station.

  40. wilful says:

    Old Treasury Building. Such perfect dimensions.

  41. John Lynch says:

    Tatersalls Lane, awesome dumplings.

  42. Cameron Shephard says:

    333 Collins Street

  43. wizofaus says:

    Old Rialto building on Collins – the contrast with the modern tower behind it is quite something:

  44. David Walker says:

    Put me down for the State LIbrary. Superb combination of old and new. Very popular with kids, including mine, who somehow love its welcoming-and-serious vibe.

  45. The Alcaston building on the corner of Spring and Collins Street. A very attractive inter-war multi-storey building with a good mix of uses (including a very good cafe on the ground floor).

  46. Anthony Ang says:

    The Royal Exhibition Building at Carlton Gardens

  47. Andrew says:

    Manchester Unity building. Pure beauty.

  48. di diddle says:

    Gotta love the Preston and Northcote Community Health (PANCH) Centre that was squeezed into a shard of empty land opposite the old PANCH hospital on Bell St in Preston. Designed to be read while skimming past at 70kmh, the angled coloured panels and enormous lettering create an impression somewhere between an ARM folly and a Face magazine centrefold (circa 1989) under Neville Brody’s hand,

  49. Camille says:

    There are so many wonderful buildings in Melbourne, but my personal favourite is the Capitol Theatre and the incredible auditorium – definitely a must see at this weekends Open House!

  50. Dan says:

    ACCA, Majorca Bldg, Mitchell Bldg (Mahony-Griffin @ Elizabeth & Lonsdale), the CEPU concrete bunker at 52 Victoria St all spring to mind, but the faienced beauty and understated charm of 18 Queen St (alkira apartments) does it for me, A gem hidden in plain sight.

  51. Daphne says:

    acca, sturt street.

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