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Why does Melbourne look like this?

Have you ever looked at Melbourne and wondered why things look the way they do? Melbourne has a certain character that is widely adored, but the mix of architectural and design styles are often unexplained and may even seem odd if they were not just the way things are.

This four part video tells the story of the Melbourne aesthetic, from the city to the suburbs, from the homes to the pubic buildings to explore the visual feast that is our city.

This pilot episode of blueprint asks how Melbourne actually came to look the way it does by discussing the cultural, architectural and historical impacts on its design.

Why does Melbourne look like this?

The episode is split into the four chapters and interviews four experts from different backgrounds with diverse experience and knowledge regarding the history and design of Melbourne.

Dr David Nichols is an Associate Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne and has presented the Triple R show The Urbanists. He has authored various books such as Community: Building Modern Australia; The Bogan Delusion and Trendyville.

Rohan Storey is an architectural historian and a well known heritage consultant, having worked for the National Trust for many years. He has authored Walking Melbourne: the National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne’ and regularly hosts robust discussions between critics and industry insiders around Melbourne’s heritage on his Instagram page.

Ariele Hoffman is a social and cultural historian, a writer and keen photographer. She was the Curator of the Jewish Museum of Australia for 5 years and to further her interest in Jewish history, she is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. Her photographic work can be found on Broadsheet and her arts writing has been published by Art Monthly Australasia, Art Forum and in various other journals.

Mark Denver is a historical collector and curator who is well known for his vintage, industrial and antique furnishings shop in Fitzroy. His store is a visual treat with unusual and decorative objects steeped with history. He has established a reputation for being able to source unique furnishings and items of interest to the highest standard.

Chapter 1 covers 200 years of architecture and documents the progression of styles in the types of homes that were built, from the mid 1800s to the modernist movement.

Chapter 2 looks at the shape of the city to explain how and why the city grew like it did and how this has effected what Melbourne looks like.

Chapter 3 discusses the one factor that perhaps had the biggest effect on Melbourne’s design, the people.

Chapter 4 Rohan, Mark, Ariele and David share their take on the future of Melbourne.

Words by Scott Williams and Raghav Goel for blueprint