OLD ARTS BUILDING

Location

THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, 156-292 GRATTAN STREET PARKVILLE, MELBOURNE CITY

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Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number

H0924

Heritage Overlay Number

HO342

Level of Significance

Registered

78738

Extent of Registration

AMENDMENT OF REGISTER OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Historic Building No. 924.
OLD ARTS BUILDING, THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
(To the extent of:
1. the whole of the building known as the Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, as shown marked B-1 on Plan 603289F(A), endorsed by the Chairperson, Historic Buildings Council and held by the Director, Historic Buildings Council; and
2. the land extending-
west - from the base of the building line of Old Arts to a line level with the east facade of the Old Commerce Building
south - the whole of the South Lawn (excluding the underground carpark)
north - to south face of the Natural Philosophy Building
this being part of the land described in Certificate of Title Volume 8876 Folio 379 and marked L-1 on Plan 603289F(B), endorsed by the Chairperson, Historic Buildings Council and held by the Director, Historic Buildings Council.)
[Victoria Government Gazette No. G24 24 June 1992 p.1579]

Statement of Significance

What is significant?

The Old Arts building at the University of Melbourne was built between 1919 and 1924 at a cost of seventy-one thousand pounds. Designed by Chief Architect of the Public Works Department, S C Brittingham, it was the last stone building to be constructed on the campus. It is located adjacent to the Old Quadrangle, and forms part of the central core of the University campus. The two storeyed complex is in a Tudor-Gothic style. The brick construction has bluestone footings, and the exterior, including buttresses, is clad in Kyneton freestone. A five-level castellated and turreted clock tower, containing the foundation stone laid in October 1921, rises above the Old Arts building and adjacent Old Quadrangle, to visually dominate the site. Its bell was cast by Gillett and Johnston of Croydon, England and was installed in 1925.

The core of the Old Arts building consists a group of two storey lecture spaces with timber trussed hipped roofs with lanterns for top-lighting. Various materials are used on the roofs of the lectures halls, including corrugated iron, flat iron sheets, slates and bituminous felt. Flanking the lecture halls are the south, east and west elevations containing offices and tutorial rooms. These wings, with long gable roofs, have a series of projecting gables to each facade. The window openings are square-headed with chamfered reveals and drip moulds. The trefoil motif is repeated in the leadlight windows on both levels. The original lecture halls had steeply raked floors but many were converted during the post-war period to provide large flat floor lecture halls.

How is it significant?

The Old Arts building is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.

Why is it significant?

The Old Arts building, with its tower, forms an important landmark defining the oldest precinct on the university campus. The inclusion of a tower reflected the original intention to include a tower in the unbuilt south wing of the Old Quadrangle. Architecturally, the Old Arts building draws its inspiration from the original university buildings, forming a coherent visual unit with them. It was the last stone building to be constructed on the campus and symbolises the historical association between the arts faculty, the earliest and largest school of university, with the Law Building and Quadrangle, the oldest building on the campus and where arts subjects were first taught.

Year Construction Started 1921
Architectural Style Interwar Period (c.1919-c.1940) Gothic
Heritage Act Categories Heritage place
Municipality MELBOURNE CITY

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