RMIT Storey Hall
344-346 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000.
- Constructed between 1992-1995.
- Designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall.
- An iconic building for the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
The oldest part of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's Storey Hall actually dates back to 1884 when the Hibernian Hall was designed by Tappin Gilbert & Denneh for the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society. The hall was constructed in 1887 and features Corinthian columns set on a high base of Malmsbury bluestone. On the first floor, elaborate temple windows in the Ionic order are positioned between stone columns.
The hall was used by 19th century Catholics for social purposes and was hired out for private use. At the time of its completion, it was the second-largest hall in Victoria. The building ceased to be Hibernian Hall in 1903 and changed ownership several times.
In 1957, the building was purchased by the Department of Education for the Royal Melbourne Technical College (as RMIT then was) and the building was cleared of rubbish and refurbished. The new building opened in 1959 as Storey Hall, named after Sir John Story, an RMIT council member for 15 years.
In 1994, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology hired Melbourne architectual firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall to design a new hall for RMIT that would make use of the old Hibernian Hall. Their response was a new building to the south of the old, that fused the strong 19th century architectural features of Hibernan Hall with a bold contemporary Ninties extension.
The result was a landmark Melbourne building which was unique inside and out. Externally, the new building is constructed of concrete and covered with textured diamond-shaped panels. Internally, the foyer contains rough concrete walls and columns and a curved stairwell. The main theatre's ceiling is intricately decorated with coloured textures and panels that reflect the colour scheme of the rest of the building and beautfully compliment the 19th century elements of Storey Hall.
The Royal Australian Institute of Architects judged RMIT Storey Hall to be 'of architectural significance'. The building received several awards and commendations in 1996-97 including the RAIA National Architecture Award (Interior Award), Victorian Architecture Medal, William Wardell Award (Institutional) and Marion Mahony Award (Interior Category).