Perhaps it's due to the relative smallness of the main stretch of Melbourne's CBD (or so it feels) but all the architectural details are more concentrated and consistent - one boutique store after the next. Coupled with the tramlines, close proximity of the State Library and crocheted tree cosies (you read that correctly) and visual stimulation - of mostly European style architecture - is aplenty.
Sydney's CBD 'look' is dominated by eclecticism - new age glass and high rise, with their large glass panes and open spaces, coexist with the solid geometry of slightly older Modernist buildings and bright, pop colours of Froyo stores and cinemas, interspersed with pockets of beautiful, preserved historical architecture. It's bold, it's defining and it's Sydney.
Melbournians, from what I could gather, appear to prefer working with the classical flourishes, columns and remnants of previous decades, even if it means painting those details bright yellow to match the new occupant (as a JB-HIFI we passed would attest to).
The consistency of exteriors is of importance and the true experience is hidden beyond that deceptively aged door. No wonder the furor about Storey Hall, when it was first introduced (somewhere, my Year 12 Art History teacher just nodded in approval).
Of course, there are modern lines and clean, glass-fronted shopping centres in Melbourne, like anywhere else, but even within that, the quiet romanticism of bricks-and-mortar and giant vintage clocks remains a running theme.