Restoration and Renovation of Heritage Homes in Regional and Rural Locations with Balance Architecture

The dream was to purchase a beautiful period home in a quiet regional town. Places such as Daylesford, Kyneton, Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine or Maldon were envisaged, or perhaps, the foothills of the Great Divide – Mount Macedon, Woodend or further north – Bright, Beechworth or Corryong. It’s then that you discover what is involved in complying with a heritage listing or heritage overlay, and it’s round about this time you realise that you require a qualified and experienced Heritage Architect. 

Too often Architects determine to maintain the façade of heritage as opposed to complying fully with, and maintaining the entire complement of heritage features included in the listing or overlay. 

Many such homes with a Georgian, Victorian, Queen Anne or the ubiquitous Federation Period, have suffered at the hands of previous renovators. So the first step is to engage a Heritage Architect to conduct and document a proper heritage assessment of your property – its heritage assets and shortfalls and an assessment of what a full restoration may cost. Add to this an assessment on how an incorporation of modern, open plan living maybe included in any further renovations. Heritage should be a benefit not a costly deterrent and, if your home is properly restored and renovated, this will add immeasurable value to your property, quite apart from the pleasure and delight you will derive from owning such a beautiful, liveable home. 

Homes constructed during the late nineteenth century through to the early 1930s often present with unique issues. Electricals, plumbing, lighting and foundations nearly always need assessment and often replacement and renewal. 

It is not unusual for such heritage listed properties to have suffered unkind modifications over the years – the removal of or bricking up of fire places and chimneys, tiling, ornate plaster mouldings, fragile stained glass and wrought iron features on verandahs such as lacework, pillars and ornamental features. 

It is entirely prudent to arrange for a heritage report from a qualified and experienced  Heritage Architect. Andrew Fedorowicz is such an Architect and as the Principal Architect for Balance Architecture Andrew has managed hundreds of such projects from initial assessment through design and planning to completion and lock up stage, supervising the contracted builders to assure complete compliance to both the restoration and design intended as well as ensuring compliance to the heritage listing or heritage overlay requirements. 

Call Balance Architecture now on 0418 341 443 to arrange an obligation free consultation at a time that is convenient to your schedule. Alternatively leave your details here for a prompt reply. 

Vision, Experience and a True Respect for Heritage and its Value – Balance Architecture. 

Heritage – the pathway from our past ensuring a rich rewarding and fulfilling future. 

Heritage Listed Former ANZ Bank Building Dwarfed by Rear Tower Development

Artist’s impression of the former ANZ Bank building with proposed rear tower.

The English, Scottish and Australian Chartered Bank, known as the ES&A during its long lifetime, built some amazing buildings in Melbourne. These Bank buildings were constructed in a Gothic Style of Architecture and were certainly very different to some of the more sombre banks of the time.

The most famous of these was the building located at 388 Collins St, now an ANZ banking chamber. Its proper name is the Verden Chambers, but to the public it is affectionately known as the Gothic Bank.

The ES&A Bank built many of its branches in the Gothic style ranging from the Rocks in Sydney to Mt Alexander Rd Ascot Vale, where the theme prevailed. The Ascot Vale building was fully restored by Balance Architecture to its original heritage splendour twenty years ago. And perhaps one of the most notable examples in an otherwise Victorian era visage was the bank constructed on the corner of Bank St and Clarendon St, South Melbourne in 1880. It was, and still is ,a striking edifice with curious round windows and full capped chimneys, a slate roof and pier capped wrought iron on brick fence.

Former ANZ Bank South Melbourne

Nationally it is probably the second most significant of the ES&A Bank buildings. “Built in 1880 to a design by architectural firm Terry & Oakden. It is an inspiring 2 storey Gothic Revival building of Hawthorn bricks into which are set polychromic brick bands, string courses of both render and encaustic tiles and granite colonettes flanking the doorway. Of local significance” Is it largely intact and when the ANZ added a section at the rear in the 1970s the modifications were supervised by the National Trust to ensure the new extensions remained in sympathy with the overall building. To a great extent it was a successful project and the building retained its integrity.

More recently the ANZ Bank have vacated the premises, moving further down Clarendon St next door to the Commonwealth Bank (Cnr of Dorcas St).

In designing the new building, the group’s Architects have looked to profile the bank building rather than hide it, encroach upon it, or envelope it. “Design features such as the circular window highlight the existing bank building’s rather unique features.”

With the removal of the ANZ Bank’s detritus and infrastructure, the large original chamber has been exposed. Advertising will soon begin for a new tenant, perhaps a high-end furniture, homewares or design oriented showroom in character with the original heritage listed structure.
 

The ANZ has since sold the freehold and it is now currently owned by a property group headed up by M/s Anne Mihelakos. As with other buildings on the Clarendon St strip, eastern side, the group have submitted plans to the Port Phillip Council for a multi storey development at the rear of the heritage listed building. This involves the removal of a small carpark and the 1970s addition (which is to be demolished). The new building featured would be for offices. It was originally approved for five storeys, amended to six storeys and the developers now seek a further amendment to structure atop of the sixth storey – making it seven storeys effectively. 

In designing the new building, the group’s Architects have claimed to profile the bank building rather than hide it, encroach upon it, or envelope it. Unfortunately it appears that their efforts are in vain and largely unsuccessful. The new building dwarfs the older bank building. Design features such as the circular window are meant to highlight the existing bank building’s rather unique features. In real terms the new building is entirely out of place in this heritage precinct, towering over the shopping strip and adjacent buildings, ruining sight lines from the Town Hall and elsewhere. 

This would appear to be a very different style of project. The developers are currently awaiting approval on the new height request. A demolition order on the 70’s addition and some other facets of the original building is already in place. The project is now in the domain of public opinion. We are no longer taking a neutral position. We encourage residents and interested parties to challenge the construction of the new building and its detrimental effect on South Melbourne and its heritage precinct. A new group ‘Save Old South Melbourne’ is in the process of being set up. We will invite interested parties to join and express their feelings and concerns to both Port Phillip Council and the Minister for Planning, Mr. Richard Wynne with regards to the project

We look forward to seeing these beautiful chambers come back to life with its spectacular high ceilings, mitred windows and marble edged entrances. And just a hint of the real founders of Old South Melbourne – the Dorcas Society.

The Dorcas society were women with vision who established the Emerald Hill precinct from 1854 onwards. Read about it here.

Heritage is precious. Value it, preserve it – it’s the bridge between our past and the present.