Melbourne University Old Quadrangle — The Law Courts

One of Serendipity Photography’s favourite photographic locations is the historic and architecturally striking Melbourne University Old Quadrangle — otherwise known as the Law Courts. The Law Courts have remained an integral part of our city’s architectural landscape since its construction in 1857 according to the competition winning designs of architect F M White. The Law Courts and the Old Arts Building were the first to carry the Melbourne University name.

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The striking Renaissance style architecture of Melbourne’s Law Courts can be utilised as a unique and dramatic backdrop in wedding day photography. Serendipity have long appreciated the rich history and classic design of these majestic buildings, who would have thought that justice and wedding celebrations could complement each other so beautifully! Located on 192–228 William Street, the Law Courts are part of a complex of buildings including the Supreme Court Library, Court of Appeal and the Magistrates Court.

The Old Quadrangle is of immense architectural significant, namely as a stylistic demonstration of the University’s close links with 19th century British buildings. The use of the Gothic revival style was a clear demonstration of this association and was expressed through such elements as the quadrangle form, castellated parapets, cloisters, bayed windows, and pinnacled and gabled parapet ends.

The subtle gold coloured sandstone of the paving and grand columns, provides a perfect setting for classic style wedding photography. The rich tonal palate is complemented by fine brickwork, high sculptured ceiling and expansive balcony. Beautiful silhouettes can be achieved as sunlight filters in through the wide open entrances. Serendipity highly recommend this location for couples who appreciate classic styling, and dramatic photographic backdrops.

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In the late 1860’s a competition was launched to find the best architect for the newly proposed law buildings. Partners AL Smith and AE Johnson were announced as the winners, and quickly went on to refine their design and prepare working drawings. The building was erected between 1874 and 1884, whilst this 10 year period is a significant construction time, the cutting edge design definitely warranted this careful consideration. As the Law Courts are the largest court buildings in Australia to be built to a single design, and the planning solutions for the separation of different groups of courts remains unprecedented.

The Law Courts remain architecturally significant, some of the fine details of the building include: carved Tasmanian freestone, Malmsbury bluestone base, intricate stone decoration, elaborate moulded plaster-work on the interior walls and ceilings, and cedar panelling. The monumental street façade of the law courts provides a dramatic monochromatic tonal backdrop, perfect for couples who are seeking classic styling and striking details in their wedding day photography. Further exploration provides many unique and picturesque details; a covered carriage-way extends from Lonsdale Street to the central courtyard, here you will find the Supreme Court Library. Stylistically the design draws on the classicism of the Renaissance. The three floors that rise above this tranquil courtyard speak of the 16th century Renaissance palazzo’s found around Italy and Medieval Europe, what a breathtaking detail to feature in your wedding day album!





One Response to “Melbourne University Old Quadrangle — The Law Courts”
  1. Charlie Chen 4 May 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    We both loved this location. I went to school at Melbourne Uni, so visiting it again on our wedding day held a lot of personal and historical significance.
    The Law Courts are really unique as a backdrop — they were built in the 19th century Gothic style, where else in Melbourne could you find a place like this?!
    I loved the classic look of the columns, there were plenty of wide angles, plus the impressive arches and vaulting gave really amazing compositions.
    On a practical note, although the University is quite easily accessible from the city, I’d advise couples to buy a pass for the day — I’m an alumni and it made parking really convenient.

    Serendipity we are so impressed with all our photos!
    Thank you!

    Kisa & Charlie

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