analysis of the Melbourne Recital Centre and the use of space and acoustics in its design.

analysis of the Melbourne Recital Centre and the use of space and acoustics in its design.


(Instructors’ name)



Art &Architecture

There are many architectural buildings, which are famous for their great designs. The Melbourne Recital Centre is known all over the world for its design as well as the acoustics it displays. This building has won many awards such as the Victorian Architecture Medal. According to Lefebvre Henri, space is an integral part of architecture, as is brings about social practice. For example, in music, there needs to be space, which is in line with reference systems. As a result of modernity, there have been great achievements in designing buildings, which have excellent space (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2011. 1).

This paper seeks to give a critical analysis of the Melbourne Recital Centre and the use of space and acoustics in its design.

Critical analysis of the Melbourne Recital Centre

The Recital Centre in Melbourne is famous, as it has numerous awards, in terms of its magnificent architecture. In the year 2009, it won the prestigious Public Buildings National Awards, which is a national award. The building has incorporated the latest trends in excellence as well as innovation. Acoustics is an integral part of this building as the architects made sure to incorporate this into the building. The designer of the building is Mc Dougall Raggatt Ashton, and the developer being Lease Lend Bovis. The building has been crafted in the most beautiful design ever witnessed in the city of Melbourne (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2011. 1). When it was being constructed, the developer and the designer made sure to incorporate elements of design as well as music.

The Recital Centre has made excellent use of space, which is an attribute that most of its guests seem to acknowledge. The size of the Recital Centre is four thousand square meters and only facilities, which are state of the art, have been used. Also, the performers at the recital Centre acknowledge the fact that it has incorporated the latest technology. This shows that this is indeed a great architecture building found in Melbourne city (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2011. 1). The architectural experience at the Recital Centre is one that has not been witnessed before. The building ensures that the boundaries of design are effectively crossed. It has made excellent use of architectural, interior and urban excellence.

Technical and aesthetic was the term used to describe the challenges incurred in the design. Most audiences and players believe that the halls of post war are extremely disappointing. This is according to the reference group, who had to give their opinions of this Recital Centre. The hall’s shape is typological and this is due to the elements, which the designers wanted to incorporate. Culture and history were the vocal points of this building as it was being designed. Also, there was a great need to ensure that during the music performance, the acoustic science would be realized. The modernistic geometry was used to come up with the Recital Centre’s shape. Also, it should be known that sightline diagrams were used, in order to ensure that functional analysis existed. The expression of neo-plastic and acoustic modeling was used, which in turn, ensured that space was effectively generated. The latter played a vital role in coming up with a magnificent Recital Centre, which did not look like the other traditional buildings in Melbourne.

When compared to other Recital Centre’s such as Concertgebouw, of the year 1883, by Van Gendt and Wigmore Hall of the year 1900, by Collcutt, the Recital Centre is perfect. In order to design the recital Centre at Melbourne, the latter two were used as benchmarks. These buildings were constructed during the 19th century and did not have as much technology or other assistance, which exists in today’s world. The Recital Centre has the shape of a shoe box and the advantage is that acoustic perfection is achieved through it. It is not easy for anyone to fail to recognize the box shape. Sound and surface, have been created as a result of the spectacle of room, which exists. In turn, a room –ness has been created at the Recital Centre (Ching, 2007. 68).

The Recital Centre has a stage and not a proscenium and this ensures that the audience and the performers are at similar locations. Box-ness has been created, which is extremely different from a box that is traditional. The space seen at the Recital Centre is symmetrical and the space complex as well (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2011. 1). There are no textured surfaces or panels, which are articulated, as it has been made to look like a room that is basic. Timber has been used at the Murdoch Elisabeth hall, which has created space, in an architectural manner. It has been described as being a suite that is extremely luxurious. The Recital Centre is known for the artistic programs, as well as architecture, which is uncompromising acoustic. This is the reason why it is on the list of the one of the greatest halls in the world.

At the Murdoch Elisabeth Hall, chamber music is the main appeal for audiences. The designer made sure that the players and the audiences are able to communicate intimately. Thus, during the performance, dynamics and intensity are shared well by the audience. Acoustic design and architecture has been fused throughout the entire hall. The concert hall is shaped, based upon a shoe box, which is classical. Acoustic intimacy has been created by the geometry for great performances (Lefebvre, 1991. 56). Also, the audience benefits from the increased sight lines.

A unique instrument has been formed by the interior made from timber. The purpose is to ensure that music performances are enhanced and complemented in accordance to the design. Organic texture has been used in the interior surfaces, which in turn ensures that the instruments are well enhanced. The rear wall and the upper surfaces have created an effect, which is pixilation that is often diffused. In turn, the hall is unique, due to its rich clarity, as well as the excellent strength. A bass response has been created as a result of the timber lining (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2011. 1). Bass and cello are heard well as the frequency produced is of high standards. The players at the hall are happy with their performances, which are enhanced by the design and architecture. Buildings should be designed in a manner, which should appeal to people. The work done by the team that came up should be commended. Also, the designer of the Recital Centre was inspired by theories of Michael Foucault (Defert, 1997.34). The latter is known for advocating for architects to use space when coming up with designs for buildings. All the elements of space were used in coming up with the design for the Melbourne Recital Centre.


In conclusion, the Recital Centre at Melbourne is in line with the modernity concepts of architecture. The building has made excellent use of space to become what it is today. More architects should follow the footsteps of Mc Dougall Raggatt Ashton, who is a great designer. Indeed, use of space should be incorporated in coming up with buildings, that attract people’s attention.

Work Cited

Lefebvre, Henri. From the Production of Space. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1991.Print.

Defert, Daniel. Foucault, Space and the Architects. Cantz Veleg, 1997.Print.

Melbourne Recital Centre, Retrieved from 2011.

Ching, Francis. Architecture: Form, Space and Order. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.Print.