Walking Melbourne

Second Empire

A revival of the style of Napoleons Second Empire. A Parisian style. The style was often used for buildings of great cultural importance, and was often applied to town halls, theatres, Grand Hotels and public buildings. Often this style endowes buildings with landmark qualities.

Trademarks of this style include :

High Mansard style roofs with cast iron cresting and sometimes rooftop dormer windows.

Square domes and truncated pyramids.

Richly ornate Renaissance styled trimmings, including quoining and profuse ornament.

Towers and Palladian motifs.

Along with Gothic, Second Empire was one of Melbournes most popular styles in the high Victorian 1880s. Many of these beautifully picturesque buildings have since been demolished.

Melbournes finest expression of the style was the exuberant high Victorian Federation Coffee Palace (now demolished) on Collins Street. The Windsor, Princess Theatre, Records office, Town Hall and GPO are all exceptional examples of the style and still remain.



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