Federation Square, or Fed Square as the locals call it, is Melbourne’s central gathering place; a modern piazza where art, culture and live events draw people together in the heart of the city.
A London based architecture firm partnered with a Melbourne firm to complete the winning design in an international design competition in 1996. The brief was to build an entirely modern civic space in celebration of the centenary of Australia’s federation in 2001.
Construction began in 1998 and after much debate and controversy, Federation Square was opened in 2002 at a cost of $450 million. The contemporary geometric design was based on the idea of Australia’s federation; bringing fragmented pieces together to create a cohesive whole.
Despite the controversial design, Federation Square is now the most popular open public space in Melbourne. An average of 9 million travellers and locals visit the square each year, taking advantage of its cafés, restaurants, galleries, exhibitions, shopping and public events. The amphitheatre alone can hold up to 15,000 people at one time and has played host to live sporting event screenings, concerts and even a visit from Oprah Winfrey.