Clifton Hill McDonalds, Melbourne, Australia
Location: 199 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill, Melbourne
Year built: 1937
Architect: James Hastie Wardrop
The Clifton Hill McDonalds was originally the The United Kingdom Hotel until 1988 when it became a ‘Maccas’. A classic Art Deco example of the time. Its most striking feature is the central stepped fin, from which the building curves out to its wings. Accentuated by the rounded balconies and windows, the building continues to wrap and warp upwards back to the fin.
Like a monkey in the Arctic, it feels alien the first time you notice the golden arches reach from the circling facade. It sits isolated between three major roads in the midst of suburbia, visible to all. Perhaps even the bored window watching children are first drawn to the lure of nuggets before contemplating the strangeness of the building. The juxtaposition of fast food American culture coupled with the sleek fashion of style moderne catches the eye in the way few Melbourne buildings can. It almost seems like an alternate reality, like it is from a film created in the 80s intended to depict the future. – Scott Williams