Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
489 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 3000.
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  • Built in 1976.
  • Designed by Perrott Lyon Mathieson (1976), Millar Robertson Architects (1996 refurbishment) and Jackson Clements Burrows (2006 refurbishment).
  • Not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Building Description:

The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) building in Melbourne's Elizabeth Street is an excellent example of mid-70's Brutalist architecture. The 10 storey hotel (called Hotel Y) and refuge was designed by Perrott Lyon Mathieson and constructed in 1976. The building contains office spaces, meeting rooms as well as the hotel and other social facilities.

Typical of Brutalist architecture, the building is characterised by the dominant use of off-form, strongly textured concrete inside and out that give the building a chunky, powerful and raw appearance.

In 1996, the YWCA commissioned Millar Robertson Architects to refurbish the building. Utilising a budget of $3.2 million, the architects added a modern cantilevered awning and refurbished much of the interiors which included a total renovation to what had been a drab and cramped entranceway that was previously accessed via a low-ceiling arcade.

The refurbishments weren't to last as the YWCA commissioned Jackson Clements Burrows architects to refurbish the building again in 2006. The 2006 refurbishment cost $4.6 million but made almost no changes to the building's Brutalist exterior.



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