Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
2 Clarendon St, South Wharf 3006.
- Built in stages from 1995 to 2009.
- Designed by Denton Corker Marshall (stage 1) and Woods Bagot and NHArchitecture (stage 2).
- Not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
- Known colloquially as "Jeff's Shed"
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is Victoria's largest convention centre.
The first component of the complex (the "Exhibition Centre") was built in 1995 and is colloquially known as Jeff's Shed, so named on account of its unappealing exterior and the controversial Premier who abandoned plans for a museum in favour of a conference venue.
The newer component (the "Convention Centre") was completed in 2009 and cost a reported $1 billion to construct.
The exterior of both buildings is rather plain, as is the inside of the Exhibition Centre which is grey and designed to be as flexible as possible in order to cater to every sort of function or show. A long corridor is punctuated by angled signage, a tilted ceiling and a "forest" of narrow columns which support the roof. Continuous glazing ensures views of the adjacent Yarra River.
The inside of the Convention Centre is highly decorated, with orange being the primary colour of choice but fitted out with wooden panels in parts. The foyer features a lengthy colonnade and a mezzanine level for access to the meeting rooms. Stairwells are highly decorated and large windows open onto a landing area beside the river.
The centrepiece of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is the 5000-seat auditorium, which can be divided into acoustically-independent smaller sections. The auditorium is fitted out with comfortable chairs in various shades of earthy green reflecting the colours of the Australian bush. The upper walls and ceiling are clad in timber. As would be appropriate in such a venue, the designers have steered away from vivid colour in a space where people need to feel comfortable but can also concentrate on the speakers or performance.