Block Arcade: 280 - 286 Collins St, MELBOURNE
Building ProfileName : Block Arcade
LocationAddress: 280 - 286 Collins St
Construction DetailsBuilt: 1890 - 1893
Original use: Commercial
Current use: Commercial
number of floors : 5
Built in the Victorian period in the Mannerist style
A grand and complicated facade with ornamental statues and undulating surface.
From 1856 to 1883 the site was occupied by Briscoes Grain Bulk Store. This later became the site for George & Georges Drapers until the catastrophe of September 14th, 1889. A fire swept through the building. Three firemen died fighting the fire and 200,000 pounds damage was caused. Georges (until its recent closure Melbournes most exclusive department store) was forced to move further up Collins Street. A group of businessman, realising the value of this site in the middle of "The Block", commissioned the architect David C. Askew to construct a shopping arcade on the site. The L-shaped structure with identical facades in Collins and Elizabeth Streets was loosely based on the Galleria Vittoria in Milan. Like many Melbourne buildings, the previous grain store was built on bluestone foundations. Melbourne could well be described as the bluestone city. The disastrous fire could not destroy the bluestone foundations, and the lavish new arcade grew on top of the old foundations despite the deepening economic depression.Architect: D.C. Askew
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