Heritage – What does it really mean – a visual reminder

Heritage listing is much more than acknowledging a structure’s antiquity. Modern buildings from the ‘50s right through until the early years of the new millennium have been accorded Heritage status. And it appears that there are those among us who flaunt these classifications and destroy such buildings purely for profit.

We are all probably aware of the devastating vandalism wrought on Carlton’s Corkman Hotel by two such unscrupulous ‘developers’. Already subject to significant fines, both developers now face further major punitive actions.

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Here is a less well known case from the Apple Isle – Tasmania. In Hobart, Mount Stuart has long been a well known and popular suburb. Hobart was first established in 1804 at the mouth of the Derwent River, a year after the establishment of nearby Risdon Cove (on the other side of the Derwent in 1803).

Mount Stuart was originally established in 1836 when the unpopular Governor George Arthur was returned to England aboard the ship Mountstuart Elphingstone. Two roads were named in celebration of the colony ridding itself of the Governor and the reversal of his many unpopular laws at the time. The roads were Elphingstone Rd and Mount Stuart Rd. Mount Stuart Town eventually covered much of West Hobart. It was absorbed into Hobart Town around 1908.

In the 1890s, a rather interesting home was constructed at number 55 Mount Stuart Rd. With breathtaking views across the Derwent it was always a sought after property. By the year 2016, it was somewhat run down but quite able to be tastefully restored. Two trees planted on the 1406 square metre block and the actual building in total carried heritage listing. When the property came up for sale in 2016, the Heritage listing, the restrictions the listing imposed and the detailed report on asbestos contamination were all carefully documented for prospective buyers.

The successful purchaser, a Mr Darko Krajinovic decided to ignore these conditions and restrictions. The result? On a property he purchased for $445,000 he has been fined $225,000. He has also been billed $60,000 for the asbestos clean-up program required after his rather amateurish demolition job. Now, having lost his appeal against the fine imposed he will be subject to further costs as the demolition is completed.

A rather fool-hardy enterprise, one that should have would be cowboy developers in Tasmania rethinking their get rich quick schemes.

You can read about it here…

Mount Stuart house owner fined $225k for demolishing heritage home, creating ‘clouds of asbestos’

A Tasmanian man who deliberately demolished his heritage-listed house has been fined $225,000 and ordered to pay legal costs to the Hobart City Council.

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Darko Krajinovic, 32, demolished the Mount Stuart house and outbuildings, which contained asbestos, without a permit.

He also cut down two trees listed as significant to develop four townhouses on the land.

In the Hobart Magistrates Court, he was convicted of nine separate offences and ordered to pay the fine, which is significantly less than the maximum penalty of $353,000.

Magistrate Simon Cooper said Krajinovic displayed “spectacular disregard” for planning laws and the safety of his neighbours when he demolished the house and outbuildings.

“I’m told that clouds of asbestos floated across to neighbouring properties,” he said.

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The court heard Krajinovic was visited several times on the day of the demolition by council officers.

The officers and police had been alerted by neighbours that he was cutting down the trees and using an excavator to demolish the outbuildings.

Krajinovic told a neighbour: “I’m sick of everyone around here telling me what to do. It’s my place and I can do what I want.”

Mr Cooper took into account Krajinovic’s early guilty plea but said that the penalty needed to reflect that he had committed a “very serious offence indeed”.
Penalty sends strong warning, council says

The council’s general manager, Nick Heath, said the council was satisfied with the penalty and the case should serve as a “strong warning” and deterrent.

“Mr Krajinovic’s actions in destroying his property and removing heritage-listed trees are unacceptable and were an act of blatant destruction with no regard for the safety of others,” he said.

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Darko Krajinovic was convicted of nine separate offences.

“We are aware that this matter caused severe distress to many in the community which is understandable, and one of the reasons why the council vigorously pursued this matter.”

In 2015 the State Government removed the option to ban reckless developers from continuing with any work for 10 years.

Mr Heath said the Council would lobby to have that power reinstated.

“There’s a report that’s been asked for by the council to look at what penalties besides just monetary penalties ought to be imposed on developers,” he said.

“Unfortunately at the moment the way the law is it’s only monetary penalties that are available, but going forward I think we’ll have some strong discussions with the Government to make it even harder on developers who blatantly breach the law around development and demolition in the city.”

In the meantime there is an application before the council to continue the demolition of the house.

Mr Heath said the planning authority would work with Krajinovic to ensure some of the site’s original significance was restored.

Krajinovic’s neighbour Geoff Wylie said he wanted the land cleaned up as soon as possible.

“If there’s not something done shortly, it’s going to become an eyesore. It’s going to become a fire hazard,” he said.

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Source: abc.net.au

Melbourne has already lost many extraordinary buildings to unscrupulous development. Consider this, in Melbourne CBD there are only 3 buildings that predate 1850. Melbourne was established in 1835.

The 1850s Gold Rush saw a flood of money pour into old Melbourne town, replacing the earlier buildings with some of the grandest buildings in the world at the time. But where are they now? Take a look here at some of what we’ve lost and some of what has replaced those grand and beautiful buildings that have been demolished.

It may just provide some readers with the perspective required to understand heritage listing… Then again, it may not.

Melbourne’s Wonderful Demolished Buildings

THE FINKS BUILDING

276 Flinders Street

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When built in 1880, this office block was Melbourne’s tallest at ten stories. In 1897 it, and most of the block of Finders Street that it stood on, was destroyed in a fire, one of the worst the city has seen. Only the facade was left, although the building was considered such an icon that it was rebuilt. In 1967 it was finally demolished outright. Present day, this stands in its spot:

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MELBOURNE FISH MARKETS

Flinders St, between King and Spencer Streets

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Of all of Melbourne’s vanished buildings, this one is probably the most spectacular. Built in 1890, for more than 50 years this was used as a commercial market for fish and other fresh produce. In the lead up to the Olympic games in 1956 it was decided to demolish a number of Melbourne’s older buildings in order to ‘modernise’ the look of the city. Sadly, incredibly, this was one of the buildings to go, although the demolition was not completed until 1959. It was replaced – sadly! incredibly! – with a carpark… the block now also shared by a nondescript office building:

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THE FEDERAL HOTEL AND COFFEE PALACE

555 Collins Street

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Built in 1888 to coincide with the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition (marking 100 years of Australian settlement), this was once one of the largest and most opulent hotels in the world. The first two floors housed impressive dining, reading, smoking and billiard rooms, with the remaining 5 stories given over to luxurious guest rooms. The interior was so impressive that the building became a tourist attraction in its own right:

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As an added historical footnote, the hotel was also conceived as a ‘Coffee Palace’ as part of the 19th century temperance movement. No alcoholic beverages were served at the hotel when it was built, which was something of a fad at the time, as public drunkenness was perceived as a serious problem. This wonderful piece of architecture and history was demolished in 1973, the site sold for redevelopment. Pleas to have it saved as a heritage building were ignored by the Government of the time (there was no heritage protection legislation as we know it today). It was such a popular local landmark that thousands of people turned out to watch it go. This dreary brown box was built in its place:

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THE MENZIES HOTEL

140 William Street

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Built in 1867 to accommodate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Menzies was another of Melbourne’s most impressive luxury hotels. Among the famous guests who stayed there; Sarah Bernhardt, Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain (who helped stoke the hotel boilers as part of his fitness regime), Herbert Hoover and General Douglas Macarthur. In 1969 it was demolished to make way for, the admittedly pretty stylish, BHP Plaza:

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WOOL BROKING PREMISES

111 Williams Street

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Built in 1891 for the John Sanderson company, this block length building showed exactly how important the agricultural industry was in fledgling Australia. Demolished in 1969 to make way for the AMP Building, which is itself currently under redevelopment:

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SCOTT’S HOTEL

444 Collins Street

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Built in 1860, and substantially remodeled between 1910 and 1914, Scott’s hotel enjoyed a reputation for supplying some of Melbourne’s finest food and wine. Dame Nellie Melba and English cricket legend W.G.Grace were two among many notable people who stayed at the Scott, which was also a favourite haunt for local racing identities. Sold to the Royal Insurance Co in 1961, when it was Melbourne’s oldest continuously operating hotel, the building was demolished to make way for another in a series of drab office blocks (to the right of this picture):

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THE ORIENTAL BANK

Corner Queen Street and Flinders Lane

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Built in 1856 when the twenty year old city was still finding its feet (note the muddy track that is Queen St in the above photo), this Greek temple themed design was the product of a competition held by the bank among Melbourne’s architects. Unfortunately, the bank itself would go out of business in 1884, and this building was demolished shortly afterwards. The same spot today:

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THE APA TOWER

Corner of Collins Street and Queen Street

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A great example of Melbourne’s art deco heritage, the tower was added to this already existent building in 1929, making it the city’s tallest for 30 years. Taken over by the firm ‘Legal and General’ in the 1950s, it was demolished in 1969 when they wanted a more up to date, and considerably less stylish, headquarters:

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COLONIAL MUTUAL LIFE BUILDING

316 Collins Street

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The ‘Equitable Company’ set themselves the ambition of constructing ‘the grandest building in the southern hemisphere’ for their Melbourne headquarters. Which, with a five year construction and £500 000 price tag, this wonderful building may well have been. Taken over by Colonial Mutual in 1923, it would serve as their grand offices for thirty years. But high maintenance costs and outdated fixtures made the company want rid of it by the 50’s. A bland office block stands in its place today, with the logo ‘CML’ emblazoned across its street level pillars, to remind people of what once was:

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THE AUSTRALIA BUILDING

43-45 Elizabeth Street

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The world’s third tallest building, at 12 storeys, when it was constructed in 1889, this building dominated Melbourne’s skyline for decades. At one time visible from anywhere in the city, the Australia Building was also the first tall building to employ mechanical lifts (powered hydraulically by high pressure water pumped from the Yarra). In 1980 its distinctive red facade and ornate roof was demolished to make way for this:

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THE EASTERN MARKETS

Exhibition Street between Bourke and Little Collins Streets

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Established in 1847, the Eastern Market was embryonic Melbourne’s principal fresh produce market for thirty years, before being superseded by the Queen Victoria Markets in the 1870’s. The Eastern market survived for nearly another 100 years, however, operating as a flower market and tourist attraction. The markets were demolished in 1962 to make way for the uniquely stylised ‘Southern Cross Hotel’:

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The ‘Southern Cross’ was undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most striking buildings, although it attracted as much vitriol as admiration. Famous guests of the hotel included; The Beatles, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. Frank Sinatra stayed there during his infamous 1974 tour of Australia, when he created a storm by referring to local female journalists as ‘hookers.’ And both the Brownlow Medal and the Logies were hosted in its function rooms. In 1999 it was sold off and slowly demolished, with the site sitting vacant for several years. The location is now occupied by this, considerably less flamboyant, mixed use building:

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THE TIVOLI THEATRE

235 Bourke Street

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Very few pictures or drawings remain of the Tivoli Theatre. When it opened in 1901 (from a design by William Pitt) it was originally named ‘Harry Rickards’ New Opera House’, after it’s first owner. The theatre presented a variety of live entertainments, including music, comedy and vaudeville. Harry Houdini,W.C. Fields and Chico Marx are among the famous names who performed there.

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Sold by Rickards in 1912, it was renamed the Tivoli shortly after and continued to present live entertainment right through until the 1960s. Converted in that decade to a cinema, the fate of many of Melbourne’s old theatres, the building was destroyed by fire in 1967. The ‘Tivoli Arcade’ stands on the site today:

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THE QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDINGS

Swanston Street, Between Bourke and Collins Streets

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Built in 1888, the Queen Victoria Buildings ran the length of the block on Swanston Street, opposite the town hall. A rare local example of French Second Empire architecture, the elaborate facade and roof of the building was further ornamented by a number of statues, including a sizable one of the monarch it was named after. The building was used for high end retail shops and featured a glass topped arcade, The Queens Walk, that ran between Bourke and Collins:

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In the 1960’s, the Melbourne City Council began to consider the construction of a large public park in the city centre. Across a decade or more, it gradually acquired parts of the Queen Victoria – and other adjacent – buildings for this purpose. Demolition commenced in the late 1960’s and took several years (The Regent Hotel was also acquired and scheduled to be knocked down as part of the same project, but was saved by a union ban). The new open space was dubbed ‘City Square’:

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Windswept and largely ignored, part of it was sold for development in the 1990s and the Westin Hotel was built on this section. The remainder of the park was redesigned and remains for public use:

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MELBOURNE/QUEEN VICTORIA HOSPITAL

172 – 254 Lonsdale Street

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Built in 1911 of bluestone, with stylish towers and iron railings, the Melbourne was almost too elegant to be a hospital. It’s graceful facade was further complemented by a lush garden (visible above) that ran around two sides of the grounds. Initially home to the principal hospital for the city, in 1946 it was reconstituted as a specialised institution for women and children (and was solely staffed by women for a time), and renamed the Queen Victoria. The hospital closed in 1987 and the site was then used for a variety of unlikely purposes, including a mini golf course and a craft market. In 1992 the site was purchased by a development group and three of the four hospital buildings demolished. The bulk of the property was then turned into a mixed commerical premises, the QV Building:

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The one remaining hospital building was refurbished and returned to its previous use, once again offering care to women and children, in 1994.

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CAFE AUSTRALIA

264 – 270 Collins Street

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One of Australia’s most famous architects, Walter Burley Griffin, designed the sumptuous Cafe Australia, a remodeling of an existing cafe on Collins Street. Opening in 1916, the cafe bore all of Griffin’s trademarks; an elaborate facade and entryway, delicate concrete ornamentation and highly stylised interiors.

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Cafe Australia was only shortlived, however. It closed and demolished in 1938 and was replaced by the similarly named Hotel Australia, which borrowed much from Griffin’s design, but lacked the overall panache of the previous establishment.

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This building was then reworked into the current occupant of the site, ‘Australia on Collins’, an up market retail space.

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Source: marvmelb.blogspot.com

Heritage listing can be achieved on a number of quite different grounds. Check here “Heritage Listing – What is it?” for a previous blog we presented that has links and an explanation of what achieving a Heritage Listing can entail.

Our heritage is what gives our cities and towns, our nation it’s character. It should be respected and protected so that future generations can appreciate just how we have come to live in this wide brown land.

From Victorian pomp and grandeur to the rather abstract and visually challenging lines of Federation Square – it’s simply our heritage, our imprimatur – it’s certainly worth preserving.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

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Apple Development, Federation Square #ourcityoursquare Rally Wednesday 19th Sept, 6pm, and the Windsor Tower now rejected by VCAT

For those who follow our weekly posts and blogs, we are providing information first of all regarding a protest being held at Federation Square on Wednesday the 19th of September at 6pm sharp. Organised by Melbourne Heritage Action, speakers include Simon Ambrose (CEO, Victorian National Trust), Melbourne City Council Councillor Rohan Lepert, Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio of Melbourne, and Colleen Peterson (CEO of Ratio Planning Consultants).

As many readers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed Apple development on the site, this is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate that opposition and perhaps hear from people with informed views on the subject.

From Melbourne Heritage Action…

Federation Square – Apple Store Rally

Even if you think Federation Square is an ugly mess, maybe an Apple store just doesn’t belong there.

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If that’s the case, then you might even want to come to a protest rally !

Details from the #ourcityoursquare campaign :

RALLY FOR FED SQUARE NOT APPLE SQUARE

An Apple megastore does not belong in Fed Square and we need to take to Our City, Our Square to make our voices heard.

Join a free rally at Fed Square on Wednesday 19 September 2018 from 5:30pm.

At 6.00pm SHARP we will have our photo taken with the Yarra Building, hopefully not for the last time. This is the building that will be demolished to make way for the Apple megastore.

Bring family, friends, and work mates. We look forward to seeing you there.

Spread the word and show how much you care for public space – before it’s too late for Fed Square.

Confirmed speakers include: Simon Ambrose (CEO, Victorian National Trust), Colleen Peterson (CEO, Ratio Planning Consultants) and Councillor Rohan Leppert (Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio Chair, City of Melbourne).

Rally details here: https://www.ourcityoursquare.org/rally-for-fed-square-not-apple-square

Source: melbourneheritage.org.au

Sometimes Developers simply don’t succeed with proposed developments. The Windsor Station 20 Storey Tower development planned to span the Sandringham Line is one such project, stopped in its tracks (so to speak) by VCAT.

Windsor is well known for its heritage streetscape. There are very few contemporary or modern buildings in the area.

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Chapel St is somewhat iconic and has been identified as having similar architectural characteristics to Smith St and Brunswick St Fitzroy. A very modern 20 storey tower was, to say the least, unsympathetic to this architecture.

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This type of development will become more commonplace as factory and warehouse sites in these inner city areas are exhausted. The St Vincent’s Private Hospital extension on the corner of Brunswick St and Victoria Pde is another blatant example of development overriding Heritage values. The old ‘Eight Hour Day Pub’ and the property around the corner built on the birthplace of St Mary McKillop are still at risk with a VCAT hearing to come. But results such as this are pleasing. This building would truly have been an eyesore. In this case the Developers (SMA Projects) had been refused a building permit by Stonnington City Council last year. The Developer’s last recourse is the Supreme Court, a risky proposition.

Here is the full report on the case from Domain.

VCAT knocks back 20-storey tower in Windsor because it wouldn’t fit the area

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The future of a controversial development set to be a Victorian first — a 20-storey tower built across train tracks in Chapel Street, Windsor — is in doubt after it was refused by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

After an eight-day hearing over the proposed development at 24 Chapel Street by SMA Projects, the tribunal ruled the area, which is “mildly grungy but also pleasantly edgy”, similar to Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street, would be uncomfortable with a modern tower next to a heritage streetscape.

SMA Projects development manager Robert Murphy said another application for a residential tower was unlikely to go ahead after the refusal. An existing permit for a retail outlet is approved for the site.

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He said a tower less than 20 storeys was not financially viable for development in that area and SMA Projects would not be “re-lodging the same application”.

“Even though it’s being refused … I think it will leave a legacy for planners to refer to in terms of what the future might bring for developments,” Mr Murphy said. “It lays a foundation and leaves a bit of a legacy for trying to overcome the monumental challenge.”

Mr Murphy said the developers had always tackled challenging sites and the decision by VCAT would not deter them from challenging developments like this in future.

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The developers are considering their next steps, unsure whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

SMA Projects appealed to VCAT following Stonnington Council’s decision late last year to refuse a permit, asking a decision be made on the development only. Its lawyers told the tribunal it was an “all or nothing” decision.

“Due to the various structural complexities and major project costs involved here, the proposal could not viably go ahead if the approved tower was any less than 20 levels high as proposed,” members Philip Martin and Stephen Axford said in their finding, handed down late on Friday.

The developers proposed a mixed use development with 45 apartments – 10 three-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom and five one-bedroom. It also included floors for office space, shops and parking.

The outside of the building was designed with green walls and clear solar power panels and it had an overall 5-star environmental rating.

The proposal also included $4.5 million to be paid to VicTrack for use of the air rights at the train line, to go towards the broader network.

That money, set to be paid after the build, is also unlikely to go ahead.

Noting the positives of the development, the VCAT members ultimately made the decision to refuse because its height and scale would not fit with the Chapel Street landscape.

“We see no reason to refuse the proposal, in terms of its ‘traffic and parking’ aspects,” the members stated. “However our overall finding is that the proposal is excessive and would constitute an unacceptable planning outcome, in terms of the other two fundamental criteria of ‘height and scale’ and ‘presentation to the Chapel Street streetscape’.”

Stonnington council planning and amenity general manager Stuart Draffin said any future development of the Windsor area needed to be “sensitive to the heritage context”.

He said the council’s zoning sought to encourage housing growth and diversity, including higher density development consistent with the site.

“A mandatory maximum height restriction of 14.6 metres (4 storeys) was approved (in 2017) … for the majority of Chapel Street in Windsor,” he said.

“This area was identified as [having] exceptional, specific and confined main street places that warranted mandatory maximum building heights due to their unique heritage and character attributes.”

Source: domain.com.au

For Heritage buildings to survive, there needs to be an acknowledgement by those opposing such developments – Going up is incredibly lucrative. Quite simply, the developers can sell up to 40 apartments in such a 20 storey development, with premium pricing towards the top. Add to this the Commercial precinct below and it can represent up to 50 to 60 times the original land value. This in itself is a very tempting proposition for some Councils in terms of increased rates income.

Kudos to Stonnington City Council for placing a higher value on our heritage. Its time to ensure that the rather curious and beautiful buildings and infrastructures of the past remain somewhat intact.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone,
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
Why not?”

Good Question Joni Mitchell, the answer has always been obvious.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The Apple Development for Federation Square has been Re-designed.

After a rethink from Apple, Federation Square, the State Government and the City of Melbourne, a new design for the new Melbourne Apple Headquarters has been unveiled. Initially with the first design being described as a cross between a ‘Pizza Hut’ and a ‘Pagoda’ the new design is considered somewhat more neutral. A rectangular building with open verandahs overlooking the Yarra River and the Federation Square courtyard, it’s still somewhat controversial.

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For comparison on opinions we offer three different press releases. First off is the press release from Federation Square itself.

Refined Apple Designs Signal a Re-imagined Fed Square

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Refined designs of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Fed Square have been released today after a series of design workshops involving Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, Melbourne City Council and Apple.

Part of a broader reimagining of Fed Square, which includes the new Digital Facade on the Transport Building and the new Melbourne Metro Train Station entrance, the Apple Global Flagship Store will create more than 500 square metres of new public space, provide outdoor shading, better connect the square to the Yarra River, deliver more cultural events and boost visitor numbers.

The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.

The addition of Apple to Fed Square’s existing tenants is expected to attract an additional two million additional people to Federation Square every year.

CEO of Federation Square Jonathan Tribe said the Apple Global Flagship Store is “consistent with Federations Square’s Civic and Cultural Charter, which recognises Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a centre for creativity and innovation.”

A daily program of free events – Today at Apple – will use local creative talent to run workshops and experiences showcasing local tech, design, art and education communities. The free program provided by Apple will help to inspire and educate Victorians of any age, cementing Melbourne as the nation’s cultural and tech capital.

The Apple Global Flagship Store in Fed Square reinforces Melbourne’s reputation as the undisputed tech capital of Australia.

Source: fedsquare.com

For a more robust independent view, please consider this report from the ABC.

Apple reveals new design for Melbourne concept store at Federation Square after public backlash

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Controversial plans to build a flagship Apple store at Melbourne’s Federation Square have been redesigned following criticism that the original draft was ugly and created without public consultation.

In December the Victorian Government revealed the three-story Yarra Building at Federation Square would be demolished to make way for the tech giant’s two-storey concept store.

There was a strong public backlash to the original plans, which featured a copper-coloured pagoda-style facade that some dubbed a ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’.

A new design has now been unveiled, transforming the building into a rectangle with a glass facade on the ground floor and a coloured mesh facade on the second floor.

It would include a publicly accessible balcony that overlooks the Yarra River, and an amphitheatre for public performances.

The chief executive of Federation Square, Jonathan Tribe, said the new design was “more sympathetic” to the style of the existing space.

“The original design was very much a concept plan and was always subject to refinement,” Mr Tribe said.

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But the new design is already copping criticism.

The National Trust said while it was encouraging that Apple was open to redesigning the building “it did not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed about the demolition of a significant building”.

“The updated design has also been prepared without community consultation with its most important stakeholders — the people of Victoria,” chief executive of the National Trust Simon Ambrose said.

Community groups echoed that sentiment.

“We think Apple doesn’t fit in Federation Square,” Tania Davidge from Citizens for Melbourne said.

“Federation Square should be primarily based around people, not Apple products.”

But Mr Tribe said including the store at Federation Square would help bring “innovation and creativity” to the public space.

“[Apple] will run over 73 sessions a week around music, photography and art,” Mr Forbes said.

The latest plans will be submitted to the City of Melbourne for public consultation.

“I still think there is some tweaking to be done,” Mr Tribe said.

When the Government spruiked in the original plans, it said the development would attract an extra two million visitors a year to the area.

Work was to begin on the concept store next year and finish in 2020.

Source: abc.net.au

And finally here is an industry perspective from Architecture Au in an article by Linda Chen dated 20th July this year.

Federation Square Apple store redesigned

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Federation Square has released refreshed designs of the proposed Apple flagship store, which have been significantly altered following workshops with Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and Apple.

The Victorian government’s initial decision to demolish the Yarra Building at Federation Square to make way for the Apple flagship store, designed by Foster and Partners, drew wide-spread backlash.

A number of concurrent petitions against Apple Fed Square plans on Change.org have collectively amassed nearly 100,000 signatures.

The City of Melbourne also received 800 submissions to a motion to call of the Victorian government to “commit to a significant redesign of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Federation Square.”

Karres and Brands, the original landscape architect for the square was also critical of the initial design. In a statement it said, “In our opinion the proposal for the Apple store does not fit in the characteristic design approach. Federation Square could have been the place for the most unique Apple Flagship store. A store that reflects Australian culture above brand image and is respectful of the city.”

However, the Apple flagship store had the support of Federation Square’s original architect Donald Bates of Lab Architecture Studio and the Victorian government architect Jill Garner.

The government formed a steering committee in February 2018 to supervise the design development of the new building “in response to the issues raised by the City of Melbourne.” The steering committee included representatives from the City of Melbourne, the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, Federation Square and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The committee developed a set of guidelines for the refinement of the design, including that it should acknowledge and respond to the design cues of the existing Federation Square context, including references to its non-orthogonal planning, geometry, layered and varied facade and bespoke materiality.

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In a statement following the release of the refreshed design, Federation Square said, “The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.”

However, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)’s CEO Simon Ambrose was critical of the redesign. “While it is encouraging to see Apple is open to redesigning its Federation Square store, it does not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed earlier about the demolition of a significant building in our city’s town square,” he said.

The Citizens for Melbourne group, which formed in reaction action the Apple store proposal for Federation Square, described the refreshed proposal as “a big iPad.“The redesign of the Apple store at Fed Square doesn’t address the key problem with the proposal: the complete disregard for the Victorian people in shaping our public square,” said president Tania Davidge. “Victorians would not support a giant iPad in the Botanic Gardens or at the National Gallery of Victoria. Why does the Government think that Victorians would be happy to sell out what makes Melbourne great?”

Source: architectureau.com

From our perspective, it would appear Apple still has some work to do in creating a design application that is sympathetic to the actual architecture and design of the existing award winning Federation Square precinct design. But we leave it for the public to decide. Does the design work? Or is something more required? Considering the National Trust is prepared to act upon a building and outdoor complex barely 16 years old, it’s reasonable to assume that the current vista is world class and an extraordinary feature of our great city.

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Let’s hope there is an elegant and ultimately tasteful compromise.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.