IOOF Hall: 168 La Trobe Street, MELBOURNE
Building ProfileName : IOOF Hall
Past Names : Foresters Hall
LocationAddress: 168 La Trobe Street
Construction DetailsBuilt: 1888
Original use: Hall
Current use: Education
number of floors : 2
Built in the Victorian period in the Renaissance Revival style
The facade is an exuberant example of late Victorian architecture, lacking restraint and described by Glanville Wilson as exemplifying "debased facadism restlessly overplayed". Originally the facade was exposed brickwork with cement cornice and ornamentation. Today the whole facade is concrete-rendered and painted. The building features extensive use of Palladian motif windows, in a Renaissance Revival composition of pillasters and a pediment in the style of Albertis Santa Maria Novella.
Foresters Hall is one of the few remaining examples of the work of architects Ravenscroft and Freeman (another is the Oddfellows Hall on the corner of Victoria and Russell streets). Foresters Hall is a notable example of boom-style classicism and illustrates the status and influence of mens lodges in the nineteenth century. The buildings origin is evident in the decorations above the La Trobe Street entrance. Below the AOF coat of arms is the Foresters motto in bold lettering (unitas benevolentia concordia) and the title A-O-F District Chambers U-M-D (now almost obliterated). The architects, Ravenscroft and Freeman, also had their offices here. The building continued as the meeting hall and offices of the AOF until RMIT took over the building in 1969. Substantial internal alterations were carried out when the building was converted into the offices and main facilities building of the RMIT Student Union (with the exception of the cafeteria, which was in another building). Following the completion of Union House (RMIT Building 8 at 360 Swanston Street) in the early 1980s, the interior of Foresters Hall underwent another internal conversion and was occupied by the universitys media and communication studies departments. The university plans eventually to restore Foresters Hall in sympathy with its original condition.Architect: Ravenscroft & Freeman
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