In November 2013, we nominated the former Hoyts Cinema Complex in Bourke Street for the Victorian Heritage Register. Designed by Sydney architect Peter Muller in 1969, it is one of Melbourne’s outstanding (and difficult-to-categorise) post-war buildings. Heritage Victoria has now recommended its inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Planning Minister was yesterday quoted in the Herald Sun, commenting on the Hoyts building and Total House, saying “People use the term brutalist architecture to legitimise ugly buildings, but I don’t think we should be saving ugly buildings in Melbourne.”
The subjectivity of the Minister’s assessment is at odds with the objective assessment of Heritage Victoria, the agency that advises the Minister for planning on heritage issues. The minister should be taking the advice of his department, not publicly criticising them. If the Minister does not like the building, he will have the ability to “call-in” the matter (in the event of a hearing before the Heritage Council) , otherwise we would prefer to see greater support for Melbourne’s significant 20th century heritage from our Ministers for Planning.
The former National Mutual Building, finished in 1965, is from the same era and was recently granted a permit for demolition by the City of Melbourne.
The officer’s report states: