This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol5", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The general plan of the Melbourne Public Library (Fig. 203) shows the large existing buildings fronting Swanston Street on the west, and passing along the whole of a city block to Russel Street on the east, and comprising an imposing entrance portico in the Corinthian style, leading into a spacious vestibule with flanking blocks used for museum purposes. On either side, passing through these, the Fine Art Galleries are reached.
The buildings facing Russell Street are planned as a Natural History Museum, surrounded on three sides by picture galleries containing the national collection.
On the south side above the picture gallery are extensive art schools.
The library portion at present comprises the Queen's Reading Room, extending overthewholeof the Swanston Street frontage, with returning wing over the south Art Gallery. It is proposed in the near future to erect the great octagonal reading-room which has been specially designed by the architects, Messrs. Reid, Smart, & Tappin, of Melbourne, tocontainamillionbooks. Planned on the lines of the Washington Congress Library, it will consist of a central floor to accommodate desks for 500 readers, with central book delivery from underground floor, the reference library forming a dado some 8 feet high round the apartment. The book stacks will be arranged around the room, entirely surrounding it, these being 8 tiers in height forming arched galleries around the great reading-room; and the whole will be roofed with a flattened dome. The day lighting is arranged from roof as well as through gallery windows.
The library is so planned as to prevent individual handling of the bocks other than reference books by the readers, the service being accomplished by special attendants only.
The first portion of these buildings has been erected of Tasmanian freestone, and the later portions with Stawell Victorian white freestone.
The Town Hall at Sydney (Fig. 204) is an exceedingly fine example of a monumental structure of this class, arranged on an open site so as to be accessible from all sides. The great hall is placed axially with the entrance, and has wide corridors to serve the auditorium down either side, as well as a great crush-room or vestibule at the entrance end, round which these corridors are continued. The same corridors are made to serve the various administrative offices, which are arranged in suites much as was explained in connection with the Walsall Town Hall illustrated in Volume IV., though they are somewhat more disconnected in this instance, owing to the central introduction of the great Concert Hall. Besides the main front entrance there are also important means of access from each of the side streets, as well as actors' entrances to rooms beneath the platform and organ. Three main staircases, one on either side and one in front, give communication with upper floors of offices and with the galleries. The plan is a symmetrical one, carefully laid out to give an opportunity for architectural treatment both externally and internally.
Fig. 202. - Walker's Convalescent Hospital, Sydney.
Under the main hall is another hall of almost similar dimensions, but only 20 feet in height, which is utilised as a supper and banqueting-room, while adjoining it are the kitchen and culinary offices.
The Shire Hall at Ballan, Victoria (Fig. 205) is fairly typical of the smaller class of Australian municipal buildings required in the country, such a building meeting the limited needs of the headquarters of the shire council and officials. This type of plan is sometimes supplemented with a public meeting hall at the back. Use is made of the loggia in front to give public access to the Council Chamber, while a corresponding corridor at the back serves for official intercommunication.
Melbourne public Library.
The capital cities of Australia being all within easy access of the sea, great enclosed sea- baths have for many years held the public favour and supplied the public demand. These invariably consist of a front administrative building leading into a great pile-driven, shark-proof, sea-water area, flanked with dressing-rooms. As some 40 per cent. of the total population of Australia are dwellers in the capital cities, there has been but limited need for large inland public baths. This type of sea bath upon a much smaller scale often forms part of private home planning, when private land has water frontages, as is common in
C. Rosenthal, Architect. Fig. 206. - Bathing House, Woollahra Point.
Sydney, where baths of the character shown in Fig. 206 are often seen.
The City of Melbourne Baths (Fig. 207) have come, therefore, as a somewhat new department, to supply the requirements of the denser settled portion of the city farthest from the port. Designed by Mr. J. J.
Clark, F.R.V.I.A., they occupy a triangular site with a steep fall from back to front, and display some skilful and convenient planning, the £18,000 of cost being well spent. Two large swimming baths are provided, besides Turkish, vapour, slipper, and other baths. Very commodious sitting accommodation has been provided in galleries overlooking the men's swimming bath, which is 100 by 32 feet, and closely approaches in size the St. Pancras (London) Bath, which is 100 by 35 feet. The slipper baths are all of American porcelain. Kosher baths are provided below for Jewish citizens, and the entrances are so planned as to make for economic administration.