Thursday 1 March 2012


The Babel Building (1946) of the University of Melbourne is so named because it originally housed the European language teaching departments. Blomquist and Wark Architects recently took on the project that involved the addition of three new floors to the existing five storey building, together with the replacement of the old infrastructure, including new lifts, service risers, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and fire services. The lower floors were refurbished at the same time as the additions were being constructed. The project was completed on time and under budget. The building now also houses departments of the Faculty of Economics and Commerce.

Babel of course refers to the biblical Tower of Babel. According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where they resolved to build a city with a tower "with its top in the heavens...lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the Earth." God came down to see what they did and said: "They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withholden from them which they purpose to do." So God said, "Come, let us go down and confound their speech." And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel "because God there confounded the language of all the Earth."(Genesis 11:5-8).

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.


  1. Good application of the Old Testament story, Nick. I love that they thought to call the old languages building by this name.

    As an aside, they are going to have a devil of a job convincing that creeping fig to go where they jolly well want it and not where it feels like it just might go at any given moment!

  2. I never thought I'd ever see the Tower of Babel! Especially in Melbourne ;>)...

  3. i remember the Bible stories I learned from childhood--and the Tower of Babel symbolized man's arrogance.:p great post.

  4. What a fine name for the building, and I really did enjoy you relating the Old Testament story. Love the vines all around the Babel letters. Great post. genie

  5. That is a perfect name for a languages department.
    Of course, it also goes well with the depts of economic and commerce!

  6. I remember having my French oral exam here ... A long time ago.

  7. I'm a sucker for signs - I wonder how many people would think this one's a misspelling??!!


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