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Architecture - Manchester Unity Building

Designed by architect Marcus Barlow and built for the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, the Manchester Unity Building was completed in 1932. It was built at the height of the great depression, using round-the-clock eight hour shifts.

The Manchester Unity was Melbourne's tallest building of the time, with its ornamental towers reaching beyond the then height limit of 132 feet. Its distinctive Commercial Gothic Modern style drew freely upon Raymond Hood's award-winning 1922 design for the Chicago Tribune Tower.

With its American-inspired styling reaching effortlessly skyward, the Manchester Unity represented a new faith in commerce and progress in inter-war Melbourne. Located on the prominent Swanston and Collins Street corner, it remains one of the city's most impressive buildings.


Manchester Unity Building
magnifyManchester Unity Building in the late 1930s
© Museum Victoria Australia