Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome to the Eureka Tower in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We will waive the entry fee in the understanding that you will not ask questions about the true height of our most magnificent skyscraper until the end of your tour. As you can see from your studio apartment window, looking North on the city, the Eureka tower is a splendid masterpiece of contemporary architecture. 
Completed in June 2006, its 91 storey exterior is made up of 52,000 sq m of glass, the top 10 floors of which are plated with 24 carat gold. It's a residential building, containing 556 apartments, with the top 5 floors containing just one apartment each, and starting at over $7 million, unfinished.

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The tower is named after the Eureka Rebellion, which occurred in 1854 during the Victorian gold rush. The blue plated glass with white stripes resembles the flag of the Stockade insurgents. The gold plated windows symbolize the shared material objective of the gold miners and the British colonial authority, and the tell-tale red stripe symbolizes the blood that was shed by the 24 miners who died fighting against taxation without representation.  The miners did not die in vain, however, as, on November 24 1857, the Victorian parliament became the first in Australia to grant universal white male suffrage.

I'll take a moment here to apologize for the color balance in the photographs being horribly off. Busy as I am with my two jobs at the moment, I haven't had time to correct them. You may find it interesting to note, however, that the reason the colors are so wacky is actually the coloring of the glass windows at the top: about half of the observation floor has blue glass windows, and the other half is plated in 100% gold.


Albert Park and St. Kilda Pier

The Arts  Centre
(Damage from this year's New Years Eve fireworks mishap is no longer noticeable...)

AAMI Park - One of Melbourne's two football stadiums
(Capacity: 30,000)

The Melbourne Cricket Ground
(Capacity: 100,000)

Federation Square

The Government House in the Royal Botanical Gardens

The Shrine of Remembrance

Trying to see our apartment

"The Edge Experience": You enter this glass box and it extends out over the skyline, hundreds of meters from the ground. The opaque floor "shatters" (with a purportedly horrifying sound) and you're left standing on a glass floor, looking straight down to a perilously stark drop. Then they take your photo and wheel you back in. Exciting in theory, but upon further speculation we decided it may not actually be worth the extra $18 per head.
Flinders St Station
St Paul's Cathedral

The hills

Oh, excuse me, the "Mountains" - Mt. Dandenong (a barely perceptible peak rising just millimeters higher than its surrounding hills) scratches the heavens at 633 meters (2,077 ft).

Perhaps a circus tent, and the Yarra River

High above

The shadow of the massive, gargantuan, towering Eureka skyscraper

...Now seems like a good idea to tell you something we only begrudgingly realized at the end of our circuit around the observation deck at the top of Eureka: It's not the tallest building in Australia. It's not one of the top 25 tallest buildings in the world. Not even one of the top 50. It's number 81. After Q1 on the Gold Coast (1,058 ft, 323 m), the Sydney Tower and the Sky Tower in Auckland; of course after Burj Khalifa, but also after Burj Al Arab in Dubai (1,053 ft, 321m); after buildings in 5 US States; after the Oriental Pearl Tower (1,535 ft, 468 m) and the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai; at just 984 ft (300 m), it's even shorter than the Eiffel Tower!!
But it's got class. You've got to admit, the gold windows do add a certain touch of... je ne sais pas.

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