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Arts Centre Melbourne Spire

Melbourne, Australia
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The spire after reconstruction features integrated lighting

The Melbourne Arts Centre Spire stretches across some of the buildings that make up the Melbourne Arts Centre complex. The master plan, including the spire, was designed by Sir Roy Grounds in 1960.

Although the original spire was erected in 1981, during the nineties severe deterioration meant the spire was demolished and reconstructed to Roy Grounds original design using new technology and lighting.

The Melbourne Arts Centre is a performing arts complex which houses theatres and concert halls, located in Melbourne's South Bank, just south of the Yarra River.

Design and Details

The spire serves as a symbolic tower for the whole Arts Centre, much in the same way as a steeple is a beacon for a church.

The spire features an open latticed tensile space frame which was inspired by Frei Otto's design of Olympiapark for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Roy Ground's original designs feature a golden webbing around the lower section which was intended to replicated the flow of a ballerina's tutu.


After years of structural deterioration and many repairs it was calculated that it would be more cost effective to replace the spire than continuing to the maintenance and repair work.

Adhering to the original design, a new spire was completed in place of the old in 1996. However some small changes were made to the original, 46 meters were added to the height, making the spire reach 162 meters.

Additionally extensive research into wind tunneling and aero-elastic aluminium which was used for the frame. Another key feature was the integration of new lighting, which used cutting-edge technology from the time and is lit up with 6,600m (21,653 feet) of fibre optic tubing.

The whole Arts Centre, including the spire are on the Victorian Heritage List.