Architect Designed With Intact and Restored Heritage Features

Real Estate Agents, many Builders and modern Architects will often shy away from Heritage listed properties or those included in Heritage listed overlays. Often when it is consigned to the ‘too hard basket’ it’s simply a lack of knowledge and experience by the relevant building practitioners.  But please don’t be discouraged – heritage living can be an absolute delight. Your very first requirement? A qualified and experienced Heritage Architect. It’s time to call Balance Architecture for an obligation-free consultation. 

When? It depends entirely on the property in question. In many cases it’s a good idea to have a proper heritage inspection prior to purchase enabling you, the buyer, the opportunity to gain an understanding of exactly what is covered by the heritage ruling, what expenditure may be involved, what requires restoration and how a modern living extension or renovation can be accomplished without denigrating the heritage features and layout of the home in question. 

Heritage properties differ immensely from simple workers’ or miners’ timber cottages through to grand Victorian mansions, churches and old hotels. Each requiring a totally and very different approach.

With larger, more expansive homes, such as Victorian terraces, villas and the more ornate Queen Anne style properties, the houses feature high ceilings, solid plaster walls, timber staircases, high windows and a host of other feature, such as verandas with ornate iron lacework and decorative period tiles, stained glass windows, baltic pine flooring and magnificent fire places. However, there are draw backs – inappropriate renovations throughout the twentieth century, ancient wiring and plumbing and incongruous extensions. It’s risk and reward. With correct restoration and careful renovation a return to the complete heritage features – plaster mouldings, wood panelling and feature stained glass windows for example, will add immense value to your new property.

In regional Victoria in places such as Daylesford, Maldon, Castlemaine, Bendigo and Ballarat – old gold mining centres – there are a full range of interesting heritage buildings. These vary from the large expansive homes of the more successful miners, bankers and storekeepers of the times through to the original miners’ cottages. 

Add to this to eccentricity of the very broad ethnicity of those working on the early gold fields and you have some extraordinary variances in building styles. For example, the early constructions of the Italian community around Daylesford.

Miners’ cottages can be cosy and a comfortable retreat as a weekender or retirement living option. However, being over a 100 years old quite often they require extensive structural work to ensure further longevity and liveability. From foundations to framing, flooring and roofing these ‘quaint’ buildings (as Real Estate Agents often describe them) can be a minefield of hidden expenses. It is rare for such buildings to be intact originals in 2021 often having suffered a range of inappropriate or ‘gerry built’ modifications. Generally the façade has remained largely intact, but that is often all that remains of the original building.

The best option is to engage a suitably qualified Heritage Architect to prepare a condition report and recommendations on how to proceed with restoration and renovations. Call Balance Architecture on 0418 341 443 and speak to Andrew Fedorowicz, our Principal Architect. Andrew is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects with an enviable track record in the restoration and renovation of Heritage properties in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. If you prefer you can leave you details here for a prompt reply.

Plan for the future. Select the property you desire with confidence and a real understanding of what is required to revive and revitalise it to its former glory.

Balance Architecture – Specialists in Heritage Restoration. 

Heritage – It Matters. Preserve It. 

Markets The New Target For Developments

Melbourne is fortunate to retain some excellent outdoor/indoor markets. The Queen Victoria market is a nationally listed Heritage site as well as also being Victorian Heritage listed. South Melbourne market has been successfully revitalised yet retains its character. Markets are traditionally the province of the people. They provide an eclectic mix of produce, delicatessen items, clothing and homewares at prices most people can afford. Unfortunately, there are others who view these wonderful, vibrant places as huge opportunities for real estate development. The latest in a long line of targets is the Preston market.

Preston market is relatively recent, having first opened in 1970. Markets are bustling, exciting places, traders are mostly small businesses and it’s a model that has survived the test of time. 

Property developers covet the large expanses of land these sites often represent. In this case the Preston market has been identified by Planning Victoria as a desirable project and has been fast tracked in its planning.

For the very latest update please read this article from The Age newspaper, dated 17th May, 2021. 

Fears for future of Preston Market as apartment plan looms

By Rachel Eddie

May 17, 2021 — 11.59pm

Preston Market could be redeveloped to make room for 2200 apartments under draft planning rules that the council says could wreck the 50-year-old “heartbeat of the local community”.

Up to 20 storeys of apartments could be built on the northern end of the 5.1-hectare site, according to plans drawn up by the Victorian Planning Authority and released for consultation on Tuesday.

Planning Authority and released for consultation on Tuesday.

The market would be repositioned to front Cramer Street, at the southern end of the site, and retain the existing fruit and vegetable shed to protect local heritage.

But most of the 120 stalls would be moved, allowing stallholders to keep trading during construction. The floor space for traders cannot be reduced under the proposal.

The planning authority has been reviewing the development rules for the precinct and fast-tracked the process after it was asked to identify projects that were close to shovel ready and had a high economic value to help boost the economy after COVID-19.

The authority wants to make better use of the private land to provide jobs and housing, arguing that well-connected land of that size was rare and was needed to tackle urban sprawl.

Preston Market borders Preston station, which is due to be elevated as part of a level crossing removal project.

Buildings could be up to 12 storeys high with setbacks on the southern end of the market precinct. They could be 16 storeys in the centre and 20 storeys at the northern end to make room for between 4500 and 6000 residents to move in.

Ten per cent of the apartments would need to be affordable housing and the developer would have to donate 10 per cent of the land value to create open space, most probably opposite Preston City Oval.

VPA chief executive Stuart Moseley stressed that the draft rules would make sure that any development retained a fresh food market of about the same size.

“Our draft plans ensure the Preston Market precinct offers new homes and jobs in a greener, sustainable precinct, including affordable housing, new public open spaces, new community facilities and improved transport connections,” Mr Moseley said.

Darebin Council has previously rejected development applications for the site, but a proposal to construct four buildings between nine and 14 storeys high was approved on appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The current planning controls had no heritage protections and did not provide a clear future for the market, the VPA said.

The new plans would add local heritage protections to retain the market’s character, while giving certainty to its future and improving layout and access.

How the Victorian Planning Authority imagines the market could look at the Cramer Street entrance.

Credit: VPA

Darebin mayor Lina Messina, whose first job in high school was at the market, said the precinct was “the heartbeat of the community”.

“Council is worried that under this plan, most of the market could be demolished,” Cr Messina said.

She said the council would make a submission after reviewing the details of the plan, to ensure the market remained where it was.

Councillors hardened their position on the market in March, voting to advocate for the market to be retained on the current footprint with mandatory height limits of 12 storeys.

Darebin Council also called for Planning Minister Richard Wynne to intervene in a petition, launched earlier this month.

Construction would be unlikely to begin until at least 2024, subject to any permit applications which would also need to go through a consultation and approval process.

Sam Tarascio, managing director of part-owner Salta Properties, said the owners were committed to the success and longevity of the market.

“There is a growing demand for a more modern community market environment that continues to serve the needs of the existing traders and the community, and supports growth in Preston.”

The draft plans will be open for consultation for eight weeks on the Engage Victoria website. 

Rachel is a city reporter for The Age.

The Queen Victoria market is still under threat of development by the Melbourne City Council. It seems extraordinary, but to date the City of Melbourne have yet to create and present a Master Plan for this National Heritage iconic site! 

Expect an update on this over the next few weeks. Balance Architecture attended a recent meeting where parties interested in preserving the unique nature of the Queen Victoria market met for a walk through with Melbourne City Councillor Rohan Leppert. It seems very likely that a new steering committee representing all parties interested in the status of the Queen Victoria market will now be formed.

Queen Victoria market artist impression. Attribution: Urban

Iconic markets such as the Queen Victoria, the Prahran market and the South Melbourne market should most definitely be saved from predatory developers and their land grabs. But so too should markets like Preston, Dandenong, Croydon and others that truly serve the community. Too often they disappear quietly (Moonee Ponds and Brunswick markets) and represent a lost community asset. 

It’s time to say “No thanks!” and ensure the future of ‘people’s markets’ such as Preston market. It’s high time to recognise the value of strong links with our food producers and the wonderful selection of farm to market produce that can only be found at markets.

Heritage – It Matters. Preserve It. 

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.