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The Rialto Towers

Peter Maltezos's picture

The Rialto Towers

525 Collins Street


Completed in1986

Gerard de Preu & Partners

63 storeys (another 3 underground), 253 metres tall


Continued Mies Van Der Rohe’s 1920s visions of skyscrapers as soaring glass crystals. The Rialto is the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere and also one of the tallest reinforced concrete towers in the world today.

I have always found that the Rialto looks its best from a distance and in the late afternoon due to one of its most striking features, its changing colours as the setting sun reflects off its glass skin.

My only dislike, is its uninspiring podium, even after it was redesigned years ago. However all is forgiven, because its former observation deck, now restaurant and bar still makes it a popular city tourist destination.


Rialto Towers trivia


• Construction began on the Rialto in October 1982 and was completed October 1986.

• Prior to the Rialto Towers being built, the site was occupied by small office buildings.

• The owners are St. Martins Pty Ltd and Grollo Australia Pty Ltd.

• The builder was Grollo Australia Pty Ltd.

• The observation deck on level 55 was opened to the public on 20 July 1994 and closed on the 31 December 2009. Up market restaurant Vue de monde has now moved in to replace the former observation deck.

• There are 1254 stairs to the former observation deck.

• The towers have 13,000 windows.


The Rialto Towers under construction ~ 1984.


Postcard of the Rialto Towers.


The reflective glass.


Rialto in the foreground with King Street on the left running vertically.


Six photographs of my own below.





Reflected in the Stock Exchange.


The old Rialto with Rialto Towers in the background.


A postcard showing the view east from the former observation deck.


The website:

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Views looking out from level 55 at the Rialto Towers (Vue de monde restaurant).




I collect, therefore I am.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Two photos by Uewepuep from Melbourne Photos.

  Photo by Raul Sobon on flickr from the Westgate Bridge.  


I collect, therefore I am.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

New five-level tower to wrap around Rialto base

July 2, 2015 - 9:06PM Clay Lucas

On Thursday, Lorenz Grollo said the new $100 million project "wrapped" around the existing tower would have levels that joined floors in the Rialto.

He said the new building was an important development for the Grollo family.

"Next year, Rialto is going to be 30 years old since the family got the certificate of occupancy," he said. "The key thing for us is to reinvigorate so we stay up with the times."

Commercial estate agent and developer Bill McHarg was a member of the "Collins Street Defence" movement that helped save some of Melbourne's most striking heritage buildings during the conservation battles of the 1970s and 1980s.

Many battles were lost, including one to save the Robb's Building on the corner where the new five-level building will be located.

The Robb's Building at the corner of Collins and King Streets, pictured in 1890, was demolished in 1982 to make way for the Rialto Towers.

Image courtesy of State Library of Victoria.

I collect, therefore I am.

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Fedsquared's picture

John Cleese spruiking the Rialto in the 80s.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

That's one for the pool room!

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Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.


Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.