Manchester Unity Building

Melbourne, Australia

Manchester Unity Building


The Manchester Unity Building is an Art Deco Gothic inspired office and retail building in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, constructed in 1931–32 for the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows. The soaring stepped corner tower on a prominent intersection opposite the Melbourne Town Hall makes it one of the most prominent and best known buildings in Melbourne.

The site, on the north-west corner of the intersection of Collins and Swanston Streets, was purchased by the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows (MUIOOF) in 1928, reportedly for the sum of £250,000. Construction could not commence immediately however since the lease of the business in the existing building did not expire until the end of 1931. By that time the full effects of the Great Depression were being felt, but the Directors decided to press ahead because all the preparations had been made, and, being a benevolent society, felt it was important to show confidence that the economy would improve, and also to provide a source of employment. Architect Marcus Barlow designed the building, which was built by W E Cooper Pty Ltd, contracted for the price of £215,000. Construction commenced at midnight on 1 January 1932 with the demolition of the prior buildings on the site, and proceeded around the clock in eight-hour shifts.

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