Venue & Host City
Visitors are often struck by the architectural brilliance of MCEC, which has won some of Australia’s most prestigious architecture and design awards.
The Exhibition Centre opened in 1996 and was created by Denton Corker Marshall, a Melbourne architectural firm responsible for many of Melbourne's larger buildings through the early 1990s, and features their characteristic "blade" entrance.
It’s main entrance of metal blades tilted at an angle and supported by a pair of yellow rods has placed it on the list of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings. In 1996 the Exhibition Centre was awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for public architecture.
The Convention Centre was designed by joint architects Woods Bagot and NH Architecture and opened its doors in 2009.
The triangular form of the building relates to its site, a key focal point for Melbourne’s urban axis that runs through the Central Business District, Docklands and the Yarra River.
It's been commented that Melbourne's inner city is the most European of any in Australia; the leafy eastern section of Collins Street was dubbed the 'Paris end' in the 1950s. There's a bit of New York in the mix as well, thanks to the city's well-ordered grid and scattering of art-deco high-rises. But Melbourne is uniquely Melbourne and a lot of that is down to the more than 230 laneways that penetrate the heart of the city blocks. It's here that the inner city's true nature resides, crammed into narrow lanes concealing world-class restaurants, bars and street art.
Melbourne has had an artsy, liberal, bohemian and progressive strand to its subculture, and coffee and food have been obsessions here for decades. Word spreads about interesting new eateries and before you know it, queues are forming outside. The international trend for faux-speakeasy bars is redundant in Melbourne as the city has had edgy places hidden down laneways and on warehouse rooftops for many years. Melbourne doesn't have to try hard – it just is.