The centre features two auditoria, the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, and a smaller Salon. The former, a "modified shoe box" shaped music venue, is named after Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. It has seating for 1000 on two levels and was designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall with acoustic and theatre consulting by Arup.
The 135 m2 (1,450 sq ft) stage, with optional 51 m2 (550 sq ft) extension is designed to accommodate up to 45-65 musicians, making it well suited to chamber music and other small ensemble music. To eliminate noise from the nearby Southbank Boulevard cars and trams, it is surrounded by 250mm of concrete, mounted on 38 steel springs. The interior is lined with Hoop Pine plywood and is designed to give ideal bass response for cello and low brass.
The Salon can seat 136 people. The lighting, seating and stage can be configured to suit the performance.
Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre complex won the Moore Stephens National Award for Public Buildings at the Property Council of Australia – the country's highest award for a public building. The complex also won the Victorian Architecture Medal, the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture and the Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design at the Australian Institute of Architects State Architecture Awards in 2009.