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Major projects » Completed projects » City Square

City Square

Relaxing in the City SquareLocation: Swanston Street, Melbourne

Year: 1997 - 2000

Client: City of Melbourne

Project type: Design and Project Management

Twlight in the City SquareProject brief: 

To give the City Square a relaxed, park-like feel of an oasis within the city.

The new design for the City Square simplified the levels of the former site and varied the uniform bluestone paving to include lighter coloured materials such as granitic gravel.


The new design has created a simpler, accessible and more colourful urban space for Melbourne especially through the following features:

  • City Square at nightThe water feature -  celebrates Melbourne's sister city relationships with Osaka, Tianjin, Thessaloniki, St Petersburg and Boston. Denise Sullivan's glass sculpture in the deeper pools uses reflections and relationships to represent the bond between physically separated cities.
  • Lighting - accentuates the water feature and the fine architecture of the Cathedral.
  • City Square Cafe at the Flinders Lane end of the Square enlivens the space especially outside normal business hours. The cafe also acts as a visual 'bookend' that provides a sense of formal enclosure.
  • Landscaping - an existing mature elm tree on the original hotel site was relocated as a major feature near the Collins Street/Swanston Street corner. This tree had previously been relocated from the Domain to the City Square in 1979. A second row of plane trees has been planted along Swanston Street, and when fully grown will form a sheltered promenade along the footpath.

City square in the dayAcknowledgements:  

  • Principal Designer (Landscape, Industrial and Urban Design) and Project Management - City of Melbourne, City Projects Division
  • Civil/Structural Engineering - Bonacci Winward
  • Electrical/Hydraulic Engineering - Connell Wagner
  • Landscape Architecture Design Development/Documentation - Urban Initiatives
  • Irrigation Consultant - LIS
  • Contractor - Grocon Pty. Ltd. (principal sub-contractors - J. A. Dodd (City Square); Easton Builders (Cafe); DCG Design & SA Precast (John Mockridge Fountain).
  • Artists:  Denise Sullivan - "Looking Glass";  Simon Perry - feature walls; Darryl Cowie - car park exhaust shaft cladding.


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