Contemporary Architecture

Barry Patten – Sidney Myer Music Bowl

  • Location :  Kings Domain,
  • Opened : February 1959
  • Public outdoor performance shelter


  • Sidney Myer initiated the idea
  • Inspired  by the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles
  • From concrete shell to tensile structural steel
  • From simple white geometry to hi tech tensile structural system
  • From Modernism to Late modernism


  • “a sunken amphitheatre sheltered by a huge, flexible canopy floating over the grass.”
  • a “sound shell”
  • a “bowl for the people.”
  • city’s first major purpose-built outdoor venue
  • “the most startling architectural piece ever seen in Melbourne.’‘
  • structure combined the splendor of a concert hall with the relaxed feel of a sports arena
  • won a prestigious American Institute of Architecture Award


  • a tensile structural system with a free-form roof.
  • an innovative system of cables laced together and covered with aluminium faced plywood sandwich panels
  • Weather proofed  thin membranes of plywood
  • Use of steel cables and two 21.3 m high  masts
  • Corrosion resistant ground anchors
  • “a mammoth man-made engineering job”


  • “considerable historical, social and cultural significance”
  • Extensive renovations in 2000-2002
  • To brought the venue’s facilities up to international standards.
  • fixed seating for 2030 people in 26 tiered rows
  • Surrounding lawns can seat up to 23,000 people.
  • The stage area is 27.4 X 19.5 m
  • Area of the Bowl’s canopy is 4055 square metres
  • Total Height 20 m

A Late modernist building

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