Taking up an entire Melbourne city block, Federation Square was designed to accommodate one of the National Gallery of Victoria sites, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia; as well as other cultural venues such as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Kirra Galleries, BMW Edge amphitheatre and the underground Melbourne Visitor Centre. The abstract landmark also houses shops, restaurants and bars.
Built to commemorate the Centenary of Federation in 2001, construction on the $450 million project began in 1998 with Fed Square occupying 38,000sqm and built upon a working railway. The bold design creates a series of interlocking and cascading spaces with building angles creating different views and connections. The actual square can accommodate 15,000 people for various events and its surface is comprised of around 500,000 Kimberley sandstone cobblestones from Western Australia.
A big drawcard of this popular meeting place and cultural precinct is the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, the first major public gallery in the world devoted to Australian art. The landmark complex houses over 20 galleries to exhibit Australian artworks in a structured chronological sequence from colonial times to modern day with dedicated spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. The free gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Another first is ACMI – the first centre of its kind worldwide to showcase the moving image through film, television and digital culture. Entry to the permanent ACMI collection is free and the venue is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
There's always something happening in Fed Square during the day and night, whether its special art programs on Thursday evenings, big-screen gaming, tai chi classes, free wi-fi, knitting workshops, live music and dance showcases on the main stage or food and wine events. To visit Federation Square, it's five minutes' walk from Flinders Street Station. Many trams also service this area stopping at the Swanston Street/Flinders Street stop.