2000 - 2020
In recent times, Melbourne has outperformed every capital city, with a booming economy, record low unemployment, net interstate migration and population growth signalling the turning of the tide for the state of Victoria. Melbourne has been the focus of this dramatic growth and the population is now close to 4 million.
Under a Labor government, this growth has stabilised if not stalled. Sadly, the government has dropped the ball in key areas of planning and public transport system, neglecting the privatised system, leaving the continued suburban sprawl unchecked and construction of roads that have broken several key election promises and planning policies.
Architecturally, Melbourne has seen a shift from the retrospective post-modernism of the early 1990s to a new for on complex minimalism which was first expressed by architects such as Nonda Katsalidis and Denton Corker Marshall.
The predominant type of architecture revives ideas from the 1950s and 60s modern era minimalism, whilst rejecting the functionalism of the 1970s and embracing some of the planning principles from the Victorian era and 1990s.
With a new focus on complexity and material texture through elements such as exposed concrete fins, juxtaposed geometrical elements, the use of metallic chrome cladding and curtain walled glass, todays Melbourne buildings are a more modern expression of complexity. Without the need for post-modern ornament or symbolism, architecture of this era still retains a sense of scale and responsibility to their urban context. The success of these styles in Melbourne has seen the popularity of this type of architecture spread to Sydney and the other state capitals of recent times.
Melbournes architectural scene since 2000 has been characterised by a boom in inner-city high-rise residential buildings, a social renaissance in the city which began with Kennetts postcode 3000 program and now seems ever-escalating with the introduction of the Melbourne 2030 planning policy. New urban renewal projects such as Docklands have ensured the rejection of the self-referential plaza for more campus styled offices, genuine pedestrian spaces marked by podiums and laneway thoroughfares.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games brings new hope and the city is getting a facelift with several key projects under construction due to be completed.
Important and influential buildings are Federation Square, the Museum for Contemporary Art, residential high-rises including Franklin Lofts, the Marquise, QV buildings, NAB Docklands, Freshwater Place, Eureka Tower and the Southern Cross Station complex.