Saturday, August 7, 2010

Attraction 18 - Hobsons Bay Council Chambers

This heritage-listed Hobsons Bay Council Chambers with its distinctive dome is a landmark of Altona.

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It was designed by Robert Warren and constructed by Clements Langford Pty Ltd in 1962-63, at 115 Civic Parade, Altona.

Hobsons Bay Civic Chambers D

It comprises an elevated copper-covered dome, with concrete masonry base walls. The inside of the domed ceiling presents interesting acoustics but the central cluster light fitting, complemented by contemporary wall up-lighting brackets, provides the visual focus. Round air diffusers in the ceiling follow the circle theme while timber wall panels provide feature walls.

When originally constructed, the Council Chamber was conceived as the visual hub of the complex. A series of rectangular forms, one with an arcaded entry shelter, extended either side of the council chambers with the tall clock tower on its south-eastern side. The complex originally sat in grass paddocks.

The building was enlarged a number of times including 1983 (more offices), 1987 (theatre and function hall), 1993 (foyer extension and mayoral suite), and in 1999-2000 extensive new office space and an office foyer were added. As a result of these changes, the Council Chambers is now the only part of the original complex to remain substantially intact.

It is significant historically for its strong associations with the former City of Altona as the first and only purpose-built Council Chambers and socially for its strong associations with the Altona community, particularly at the time of its formative development in the 1960s and is an important local landmark and part of the identity of the area.

Aesthetically, it is significant for its striking modernist design, which was inspired by contemporary buildings such as Romberg and Boyds Academy of Science building in Canberra, which dramatically illustrates the progressive and forward-thinking philosophy of the young Council at the time.

Technically, it is significant for the distinctive domed form, which followed the latest trends in concrete shell design and is now one of a small group of segment-domed public buildings in the country.

In front of the Civic Chambers are a Cannon, a World War II Memorial Plaque topped by a burning torch as well as the National, State and City Flags.

Hobsons Bay Civic Chambers B

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