Corkman cowboys get a leave pass! Heritage dishonoured again.

In what appears to be a significant backdown by the Victorian Planning Minister Mr Richard Wynne, his Department and the City of Melbourne, an extraordinary deal has been struck with the Corkman pub’s developers, Mr Ramen Shaqiri and Mr Stefce Kutlesouvski.

The partners will no longer be forced to rebuild the entire hotel to its original condition using the original materials.

Instead they must commence their planned development with a height allowance of 12 storeys prior to 2022.

They must also clear the current site of rubble and detritus by the 30th of November 2019 and create an ‘informal outdoor recreation area’ as an interim solution prior to the commencement of construction – serious?

The proviso is that this ’12 storey development’ must be set back from the street on the parts of the site where the original pub stood. Keep in mind this is a 460sq m site!

Corkman cowboys cut deal with minister and city council on pub site

The developers who unlawfully demolished Carlton’s Corkman Irish Pub in 2016 have reached a deal with the Andrews government to clear the site and temporarily turn it into a park by the end of November.

But the pair stand to profit from knocking down the 158-year-old pub without permission, because under the settlement reached with Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Melbourne City Council, they now have three years to re-develop the site – with a tower up to 12 levels high.

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The Corkman’s remains on Wednesday

Some of the wrecked pub’s remains have sat untouched for almost three years, piled roughly beneath tarpaulins installed under duress by the developers soon after they demolished it without warning on an October weekend.

A hearing before the state planning tribunal was due to start on June 3, with Mr Wynne seeking an order to rebuild the two-level pub, which had stood on the corner of Leicester and Pelham streets in Carlton since 1858.

Before the hearing began though, Mr Wynne and the city council reached an agreement with the developers who knocked it down, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski.

The agreement means that Shaqiri and Kutlesovski have agreed to clear the site and, by 30 November, build an “informal outdoor recreation” area on it.

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Raman Shaqiri at court in 2018

The pair then have until 2022 to redevelop the site in a form approved by the planning minister.

The planning rules Mr Wynne has set for the site – after he was forced to back down from earlier more aggressive rules on the 460-square-metre piece of land – allow a tower of up to 12 levels to now be built. Under those rules, any new building must be set back from the street on the parts of the site where the now-demolished historic pub once stood.

But the rules would allow a highly profitable development to still be built on the site. Mr Wynne was forced to back down on his earlier, much tougher rules for the site because the planning system cannot be used to punish rogue developers and owners.

If the pair do not begin re-developing the site by mid-2022, they will be forced to rebuild the external parts of a two-level pub “as nearly as practicable to the condition they were immediately before their unlawful demolition”.

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The Corkman Irish pub in Carlton, built in 1858, as it was until its illegal demolition in 2016

Shaqiri and Kutlesovski, who bought the pub for $4.8 million in 2015, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this year to knocking it down illegally.

They have been fined $1.3 million by the courts, along with an earlier $600,000 penalty via an Environment Protection Authority prosecution for failing to deal with asbestos from their illegal demolition. They are appealing the severity of the latter fine.

The pub’s demolition led the Andrews government to bring in much tougher penalties on developers and builders who illegally demolish buildings without proper planning approvals. But those tougher laws do not apply to the Corkman pair.

Mr Wynne said the government had taken action to ensure the site was “given back to the community” and continued to be a space the public could enjoy.

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Stefce Kutlesovski at court in 2017

“These cowboy developers have already been subject to record fines,” he said. “This order requires them to make good on the site and sets strict controls on any future developments.”

The chair of Melbourne City Council’s heritage portfolio, Rohan Leppert, said the order meant the site would be cleaned up and made available for the public.

“We are looking forward to seeing action on the site and will be watching progress closely,” Cr Leppert said.

Neither Shaqiri nor Kutlesovski could be reached for comment.

Two law students, who were studying at Melbourne University when the demolition occurred, launched the original planning tribunal action against Shaqiri and Kutlesovski. (The university’s law school overlooks the pub site.) On Wednesday, Duncan Wallace and Tim Matthews Staindl said they were disappointed the planning minister and the city council had reached a deal with the men.

Both have since graduated, but had vowed to see through the case because they were so appalled by the way in which the pub, which they drank at regularly, was destroyed.

The pair said the settlement opened the door for Shaqiri and Kutlesovski to profit from having demolished the pub.

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The pub under demolition in October 2016. The works were completed by Shaq Demolitions, a company part-owned by Raman Shaqiri.

“Developers across Victoria will be breathing a sigh of relief with this outcome,” they said, in a written statement.

“A hearing in this case could have served as a useful legal precedent for future heritage cases and sent a message that, in Victoria, cowboy developers cannot profit from their illegal activity.”

They cited a case in London where the courts ordered the full rebuild of a pub demolished in near identical circumstances. “This was an opportunity to follow that example,” the pair said.

The National Trust’s chief executive Simon Ambrose said it was disappointing that the future of the site was still uncertain. “If this is the best we can do under our current laws, we need to change them,” he said.


It would appear that the compromise is that they reconstruct the façade of the hotel – if they do not commence construction by 2022. There is some doubt as to their ability to do so given an expenditure to date of at least $6.1 million not including legal costs or outgoings. The apartment market is anything but buoyant so there may well be some method behind this apparent madness.

From our position, this is an unsavoury back down. The initial position taken by the City of Melbourne and Planning Minister Mr Richard Wynne was entirely correct. This compromise appears to be purely legal manoeuvring by the developer’s very competent QC Barristers Mr Stuart Morris and Mr Nick Papas and to a large extent, it would appear to be successful on their behalf.

It is not a successful outcome for Victoria’s Heritage and its protection from unscrupulous developers. As the ‘law students’ quoted in the article noted, this is a terrible message to developers.

The result, the punitive measures and the precedent set must be clear and unambiguous – Heritage is precious. It must be preserved at all costs.

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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.


Gothic Splendour to remain in Old South Melbourne

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. 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.


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 (Cnr of Dorcas St).


The building is 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 Pt Phillip Council for a multi storey development at the rear of the heritage listed building. This involves the small carpark and the 1970s addition (which would be demolished). The new building featured would be for offices.


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?).

Interestingly, the Development group scheduled to construct the new building are a predominantly female team, known as SheBuilt. The group functions with most project lead positions being filled by women.


“In an industry dominated by men, we’re proud to offer an alternative – a place where women can support one another creating projects of significance.”


This would appear to be a very different style of project. Currently awaiting approval, it is comforting to see this beautiful building being preserved intact, free standing with little alteration other than restoration of features removed in the 1980s. The project is now in the domain of public opinion. We are taking a neutral position and leaving it to you to make your own decision with regards to the project. We wish SheBuilt the very best and look forward to seeing these beautiful chambers come back to life with its high ceilings, mitred windows and marble edged entrances. And just the hint of a truly feminine touch.

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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.

Heritage in Hawthorn Saved with Planning Ministerial Intervention

A significant victory has been achieved this week by Heritage supporters in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn. Currajong House, located on Auburn Rd in Hawthorn has been saved from demolition through the timely intervention of the Victorian Planning Minister, Mr Richard Wynne. In an odd set of circumstances Boroondara Council had approved a demolition permit on July 12th 2018.

However this same council had recommended the property for Heritage protection in its Hawthorn East Heritage Gap Study delivered April 12th this year, 2019. The report was designed to provide recommended amendments to the Boroondara Planning scheme (to apply permanent and interim heritage controls in line with the study to the planning scheme). Planning Minister Wynne approved the interim controls on April 12th.


It is becoming increasingly obvious that Melbourne’s fine heritage of Victorian era buildings is under real and continuing threat. Note that this intervention order from the Planning Minister is interim until the current interim heritage overlay is made permanent. Property owners with valid demolition orders could still demolish the said buildings if a pre-existing demolition permit existed predating the December 2018 Interim Heritage controls. This will now not occur, as the Minister Mr Wynne has intervened.

The Age article dated May 14th ‘Historic Hawthorn house saved from demolition after planning Minister steps in’ goes some way to explaining this rather unusual circumstance and sequence of events.

Historic Hawthorn house saved from demolition after planning minister steps in

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has intervened to save Currajong House in Hawthorn from demolition, accusing the local council of failing to protect the historic property.

More than 5000 people signed a petition to save the 135-year-old home after Boroondara Council consented to its demolition in July last year.

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“There has rightly been community concern about the demolition of this grand home, which we have listened to,” Mr Wynne said.

“We’ve stepped in to protect this historic property where the council has failed to – our heritage is our history and councils should protect it.”

Mr Wynne said the decision ensured Currajong House would not be demolished while Boroondara City Council undertook a further heritage assessment, which would then be reviewed by Heritage Victoria.

The council requested permanent and interim heritage controls for the Longford Estate Precinct, which includes Currajong House, last December.

Until Tuesday’s ministerial intervention, however, the owner of Currajong House at 337 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn, could have proceeded with the demolition because they had pre-existing approval to do so.

Mr Wynne’s decision – gazetted in the Victorian Government Gazette on May 14 – removes this exemption in the case of Currajong House.

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The petition asked for signatories to call on Mr Wynne to avoid the demolition of a stately home, which it said would be “replaced by more box like developments”.

It said the “heritage masterpiece” contained gracious period detail including “soaring ceilings, magnificent open fireplaces and superb return verandah”.

“Melbourne is home to some of Australia’s finest heritage architecture. Too much of this is being lost to developers,” the petition says.

“High-density living has its place and is being catered for in the inner regions already. This block does not need to be part of that.

The petition said limited car parking in this residential area was already an issue and likely to be worse with any development of this site other than as a single dwelling.

The proposal to introduce a permanent heritage overlay is on public exhibition. Submissions can be made until June 3.


There is no doubt this trend of developers targeting older inner-city properties on larger blocks will continue. Already we have seen the destruction of a number of older heritage period homes in both Kew and Armadale in the last year. It is worth noting that many current Heritage overlays were applied over 20 years ago (or more). This means many buildings of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century are now well over 100 years old, but are not protected. Realistically these properties are now most definitely worthy of Heritage consideration.

The Hawthorn property Currajong House was definitely saved by people effectively petitioning Government to effect change and update the Heritage listings of older properties on the Longford Estate precinct there. The reassessment must extend and become widespread through areas of the same vintage and era surrounding inner Melbourne.

Properties are constantly being listed that could be considered ‘at risk’. In Thursday’s Domain supplement, another Hawthorn property listed has been sold for over $3 million, the same price that Currajong House sold for several years ago. Currajong House however was intact with amenities, a beautiful home.

Zetland, described as an historic home and built in 1873 was in anything but good condition internally. Fortunately the young buyers here intend to restore the home. It however is part of a different ‘estate’ – the St James Park Estate.

Renovations will cost up to $7 million

Without the same interim heritage orders and perhaps with a different purchaser, the property could have easily been demolished.

Historic Hawthorn fixer upper sells for more than $3 million at private auction


It may be missing ceilings, skirting boards, cornices and other fixtures and fittings, but that didn’t put off the buyers of the historic Zetland mansion at 16 Yarra Street in Hawthorn.

The home, originally built in 1873, sold at a private auction on Tuesday night for an undisclosed amount somewhere between $3.4 million and $3.7 million.

Kay & Burton South Yarra selling agent Geoff Hall said four bidders fought it out for the home at the auction. The successful buyers were a young family who lived close by.

“They live around the corner,” Mr Hall said.


It was the first time the house had come onto the market in almost 20 years, with the home selling in 2001 for $1.22 million, public records show. The current owners decided to sell before major renovations were undertaken.

The buyers are planning to restore the home, which is listed on the heritage register, to its former glory. Estimates to fix the home have been given at somewhere about $1.5 million.

Zetland, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, has been a significant part of the Hawthorn landscape for almost 150 years.

The unique home on a 981-square-metre block was part of the originally larger St James Park Estate. It was designed by architect William J Ellis, who also responsible for the Fitzroy Town Hall.

It features original marble fireplaces, timber floors, stained glass in windows and door frames and even servant bells harking back to the stately manors of the late 1800s.

The home’s facade features a seven-arched, lacework front veranda, making it a significant example of Victorian architecture.


Before it went onto the market, the property had been styled using its “film noir”-like surrounds and artwork to set the scene.

Despite the historic home’s fixer-upper state, there had been a lot of interest in the lead-up to the auction.

“There was significant interest in it. We had 180 groups of people through before the auction,” Mr Hall said.

“We heard a lot of the same feedback and that was that the bones of the home are terrific but it needs a lot of work.”


It’s now appropriate to re-examine Heritage Listings and Heritage Overlays throughout inner Melbourne. It is effectively the province of the Victorian State Government’s Planning Department and its Minister to do so. Replacing graceful old homes on large inner suburban blocks with intensive townhouse and apartment developments is entirely inappropriate.

There should be no more 34 Armadale St or ‘Forres’ at 9-11 Edwards St Kew demolitions. Putting it in perspective, unscrupulous developers will purchase a property at $6.7 million, clear the block and offer the property at land value of $17.5 million – as was the case with Forres.

These beautiful buildings represent our history and our heritage. And as 5000 people who signed the Currajong petition agreed – it’s now time to fight for them. Once they’re gone, that’s it. And frankly our heritage is worth just a little more than another street full of crowded rental apartments. Let’s hope Currajong is just the first of many buildings to be saved and preserved for posterity. Melbourne deserves no less.

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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.

Queenscliff – A Heritage Gem – Preserved and Protected.

As winter closes in often we find ourselves taking a day trip to stretch our legs and perhaps draw some inspiration for future lifestyle changes. Take the time to visit one of Victoria’s oldest maritime townships – Queenscliff. For many years Queenscliff was the seaside location where Victorian era folk would ‘take the airs’.

It was serviced by the Queenscliff-Geelong Rail Link, after having travelled from Melbourne no doubt. The line was constructed in 1881 and Queenscliff Station itself was located on the foreshore of Swan Bay. The station is of a unique design having been specifically built to cater for the large numbers of tourists arriving and departing at ‘Peak Holiday’ times.


The holiday visitors often stayed at the major hotels, such as the Ozone, or alternatively at specially built Guest Houses such as Lathanstowe (where Anglican clergy and their families holidayed). The Ozone Hotel was built is 1881, Lathanstowe in 1882-83, the Queenscliff Hotel in 1887, the Vue Grand Hotel also built in the 1880s, the Royal Hotel also in the 1880s.


Ozone Hotel



Grand and imposing hotels were built to cater for the needs of both Melbourne’s gentry and high society, as well as wealthy graziers and miners from rural Victoria.


Royal Hotel

Queenscliff has many older, carefully restored homes as well as these hotels with many being included on the Victorian Heritage Register and enjoying National Trust protection.

Fort Queenscliff, the ‘other’ reason for its existence, was developed from 1806 onwards. Fort Queenscliff was the key component and played the commanding role in the defence of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The bay and its entrance was the most heavily defended British Port in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.


Take the time to visit ‘old’ Queenscliff. For many people it is the opportunity to step back in history and admire the many Italianate Victorian buildings and the infrastructure of the times that to some extent is still intact, very much a living heritage.

Many buildings and property within the precinct are now heavily protected. The Victorian Government introduced the Queenscliff Heritage Advisory Service in 1980. At the same time the Queenscliff Heritage Restoration Fund was established to provide grants and low interest loans to assist property owners in carrying out approved restoration works.

Much of the direction taken in the Borough is the result of the urban conservation study undertaken in 1984. The current planning scheme for the Borough actually incorporates many of the findings of that study. It provides a good blueprint on the exacting standards required to achieve real heritage protection in such an area.

Today, if you as a property owner in the area contact the Advisory Service you can gain real assistance. From the Boroughs website here is a summary of what is offered.

Heritage Advisory Service

The Heritage Advisor is an architect experienced in building conservation with detailed knowledge of buildings in the Borough. Advice is provided to the Council on proposals affecting the heritage precincts and buildings listed in the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme. This may concern precincts, individual buildings, trees or other elements in the streetscape.

The Heritage Advisor is available to consult with building owners, prospective purchasers, builders and designers. The advisor may be able to assist in the following ways:

  • Advising on colour schemes.
  • Locating early photographs of buildings to assist in restoration.
  • Designing building elements such as fences, verandas and suitable extensions and alterations in styles to match particular buildings.
  • Providing names of local suppliers or contractors for specialist building conservation work.
  • Identifying sources of funding for restoration works.
  • Recommending appropriate materials and finishes.

To make an appointment with the Borough’s Heritage Advisor please contact Customer Service on 03 5258 1377.

The Heritage Advisory Service is a partnership between state and local government and is funded jointly by the Borough of Queenscliffe and Heritage Victoria.


When considering Heritage precincts statewide, what an excellent program. If only other areas could adopt such a program.


Queenscliff – it’s a wonderful destination and a real inspiration to genuine aficionados of Victoria’s most interesting and inspiring heritage – be sure to include it in your travels.


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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.

Europe’s finest Design Expo – The Salone del Mobile Milano

The ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano’ is Europe’s largest and most prestigious design expo. It is world renowned. Held annually as the name suggests in Milan, this is an extraordinary event. The week is now known as the Milan Design Week, with Lighting (Euroluce), Kitchen (EuroCucina) and Bathroom (International Exhibition), all occurring at this time between the 9th and 14th of April. This year was the 58th Edition of the event which was first launched in 1961.

To immerse you in the look and feel of the event we have selected three key exhibitors – two being well known brands Gucci and Versace, the other a rather eclectic artist (based in Mexico) Carlos Amardes.

The Salone del Mobile Milano is a journey of sensual delight – a myriad experience of colour, fabric, light and texture.

This year world renowned Italian brand Gucci opened a pop-up store utilising an existing apartment, renamed the Gucci Decor Store. It will remain in place until June this year. The store has been designed to profile the Gucci brand’s latest offerings in homewares – furniture, porcelain, dinnerware and blankets.

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Gucci’s Creative Director, Allessandro Michele, has filled the entire space with the brand’s signature patterns and prints. Unashamedly maximalist, everything from wallpapers, cushions, screens, chairs, candles, incense trays and metal folding tables – all carry the iconic Gucci brand.

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The Gucci décor collection was developed and released in 2017, a commitment to the craft and artisanship and to profile the skills of Italian creators and designers. Part of this iconic collection comes from the famous Richard Ginori porcelain manufacturer acquired by Gucci in 2013. The company had been formed in 1735. Under Gucci’s stewardship, the range is now flourishing with artistic direction from Gio Ponti.

The store provided an augmented reality ‘app’ where users could use famous locations as well as their own home to try out different pieces, ‘virtually’ placing the items there. The overall installation was certainly an indulgence, but reported to be thoroughly enjoyable.

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At Louis Vuitton their team in collaboration India Mahdavi, Patricia Urquindo and Tokujin Yoshioka presented its ‘objets nomades’ collection. The focus is on the idea of travel whilst considering each designer’s personal style.

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Atelier Biagetti and Zanellato/Bortotto created feature pieces for each design. ‘Anemona’, a glass top dining table and a wavy base, dressed in soft leather was created by Atelier Biagetti whilst Italian duo Zanellato/Bortotto debuted with an amazing ‘mandala’ screen composed of three separate parts drawn together in a sophisticated weave.

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The featured pieces were presented at the neoclassical Palazzo Serbelloni in an exhibition featuring the entire collection with past editions revisited in new colours and materials.

Darkened rooms are refreshed with light spreading in brilliant colours. Tonal effects with subtle changes, the Campano Brothers ‘bomboca’ sofa-puzzle in fluoro yellow; the ‘Cocoon’ suspended chair covered in a red faux fur.

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The Campano Brothers have added a new piece called the ‘Bulbo’ armchair. It mimics a giant tropical bloom that embraces the person seated in billows of yellow fabric.

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Also included in this latest display are ‘dollchairs’, modular in design. As with traditional Louis Vuitton trunks, the ‘chairs’ can be customised and hand painted with individual designs.

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Our last featured contribution on this installation is from Marcel Wanders – Diamond shaped armchairs with arched wooden frames, cagelike, a diamond vase of mouth blown Murano glass suspended by leather strapping and a ‘venezia’, a lamp that is modelled on traditional Venetian lanterns.

The final vision we share is that of the Artist Carlos Arardes of Mexico. What an extraordinary vision he offers. Titled ‘The Accursed Hour’ his installation was located on the Fondazione Adolfo Pini. It features a swarm of 15,000 black butterflies – a breathtaking eerie display. For your pleasure we have added a series of images from his display.

For the very best in professional Architectural design, graced with impeccable interior finishing to compliment the overall effect, call Balance Architecture on 0418 341 443. Alternatively call our Melbourne office on 8696 9700 and leave us a message. Andrew Fedorowicz our principal Architect will be only too pleased to set up a time for a free no obligation consultation at your convenience. Balance Architecture specialise in Heritage properties, ensuring the integrity of the original construct is not lost.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture.

The Country Retreat – Restoration and Renovation

For many city dwellers, a country retreat is now desirable and sought after. With beachside property at an all time premium, the rural retreat provides a cost effective alternative. In areas like Victoria’s Golden Triangle with townships like Daylesford, Castlemaine, Maryborough and the Ballarat environs all within reasonable distance of Melbourne, rural retreats, whether a simple miner’s cottage or a more expansive property with acreage, offer delightful possibilities.


The key to enjoying such a purchase is to recognise that houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries are often very cramped with poor heating and no insulation. Life was entirely different in those times with less choice, diversity and comfort.

Before purchasing any rural property, why not consult with a heritage architect? Discover what the possibilities are and what are the pitfalls that possibly await you. It’s sensible to commission an architect’s report, noting heritage overlay requirements. Those often dictate what is possible and what is not in any proposed renovation or restoration.


In many cases, restoration is an excellent proposition adding real value to a property acquisition.

Buyers need to know and understand what is physically possible with any property they consider purchasing or have purchased. Many older buildings for instance are dependent structurally on inner walls, so when considering ‘opening up a space’, it’s necessary to consider two aspects. One, is it permitted under Heritage regulations, and two, is it really possible?


What seems like a simple project (take out a wall) may in fact require a total internal rebuild. Older properties for instance are often built upon bluestone lintels for foundations. Under modern building regulations any extensions or renovations may require reinforcements or replacement supplementary foundations.

The weekend get-away can be a delight. Here we have displayed some fully renovated properties where restoration has been developed and supervised by Andrew Fedorowicz, Principal Architect with Balance Architecture.


What’s possible will be determined by your available budget. To know what can be achieved, consider a budget that includes your purchase price and any planned renovations and restorations. It’s very easy to overcapitalise on older dwellings, Bluestone constructions are a good example.


Stone houses are seemingly very attractive, with good natural insulation. It’s timely to consider when a property was constructed. 19th century dwellings were built using very rudimentary mortars and often require repairs, if not a full rebuild of structural walls. Stonemasonry is very expensive. Can you afford that ‘delightful bluestone cottage – a renovators delight’? Or will it become a ‘money pit’, a nightmare, a drain on your life rather than providing the peace and tranquility you desire?

Even some things as simple as a picket fence may be included in a heritage overlay. Your choices may well be limited to replacing it with an exact replica. In fact in some cases where expensive high stone walls have been constructed as replacements, municipal Council orders to remove have been enforced, at great expense to the property owners.

Andrew Fedorowicz is only too pleased to assist you with both advice and professional design, planning and implementation. With many years experience in all forms of Architecture, Andrew is passionate about heritage restoration and renovation. He is extremely knowledgable on all aspects of construction and renovation and can greatly assist you in developing your property to be that ‘Shangri-La’, the peaceful retreat you desire.


Call him now on 0418 341 443 for a free, no obligation consultation at your convenience, or leave your details here for a prompt response. Alternatively call 03 8696 9700 and ask for Balance Architecture and a booking can be arranged for a consultation.

Take the time to do it correctly. Whether you live in an inner city terrace, a modernist beachside home from the 1950s or an original farmhouse constructed in the 19th century, ensure you achieve and maintain genuine Heritage status for your property.

With Balance Architecture and Interior Design – The Heritage Specialists.

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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 Fire – Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

For many people the Notre Dam Cathedral fire is a ‘tragedy’. Billions of dollars have already been donated towards its restoration. Why is this such an iconic building? What is it that creates such wonder, such admiration, and now – such sadness.


The Notre Dame Cathedral is the epitome of living heritage. It is an extraordinary construction. The stonemasonry is intricate and exquisite. Construction began reputedly between 24th of March and the 25th of April 1163. The French Monarch of the time King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III were present at the laying of the cornerstone. Four phases of construction took place with the original Cathedral completed and opened in 1302.

Consider that in those times simple building materials (such as nails) were yet to be in common use. The timber that was burnt in the intricate roof was harvested from trees planted in the 10th Century. 13,000 trees were estimated to have been used in the extremely complex timber ceiling. The joinery and carpentry of the times was simply amazing for a building of this size.

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Equally astonishing is the Stonemasonry of the medieval masons (actually their guild was the forerunner of the actual Masonic Movement that still exists today). With no mechanised lifting equipment, no pumps as we know them and no modern adhesives, these artisans created the most intricate of buttresses, and the stone vaulting that forms the inner ceiling. Without this ‘inner ceiling’ the building would almost certainly have been lost.

Because of the simply breathtaking finesse and competence of the original stonemasons, in all likelihood this incredible edifice can and will be restored.


A full report on the fire from the ABC documents the disaster.

Notre Dame cathedral staff took 23 minutes to discover catastrophic fire, Paris judicial official says


It took Notre Dame staff 23 minutes after the first fire alarm sounded to discover the blaze that went on to cause widespread destruction to the 850-year-old cultural icon.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said the cathedral’s fire alarms went off twice on Monday evening, beginning at 6:20pm (local time).

A Paris judicial official, speaking anonymously, said staff checked under the roof after the first alarm and saw nothing — but when the fire was discovered 23 minutes later, after the second alarm, it was already too late to stop the inferno.

The official said investigators had now questioned about 30 people, who were mostly employees working on the renovation of the monument.

The fire blazed for several hours and damaged the roof, causing the cathedral’s large spire to collapse and coming perilously close to destroying the entire building.

France’s deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said saving the cathedral came down to a key timeframe of between 15 and 30 minutes, praising the work of firefighters who contained the blaze.

More than $1 billion has been pledged to the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying he wanted to see the cathedral rebuilt in five years.

Mr Macron said Notre Dame would be “even more beautiful” after the restoration, however experts said the staggering amount of cash flung at rebuilding efforts might not be enough to replace what was lost.

‘Perhaps it can’t be recreated as it was’

Notre Dame’s heritage director Laurent Prades said the high altar, which was installed in 1989, was hit and harmed by the cathedral’s spire when it came crashing down in the flames, but many other relics and structures had been saved.

“All the 18th-century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ are fine,” he said.

Mr Prades added the three large stained-glass rose windows had not been destroyed, though they may have been damaged by the heat and will be assessed by an expert.

However, there are concerns that even the $1 billion pledged so far may not be able to replace what was lost in the blaze — it also depends on the availability of materials.

Professor Peter McPhee, a specialist in French history at the University of Melbourne, said he feared “that the sheer heat of that fire may have chemically compromised some of the masonry” in the historic building.

Likewise, the centuries-old timber within the building’s internal structure, much of which was crafted into an intricate support structure by medieval artisans, may be irreplaceable.

“One of the extraordinary things about Notre Dame was that … an estimated 13,000 trees had been felled to create this delicate timber infrastructure,” he said.

“Those trees had been saplings in the 10th century, they were mature trees by the 12th century when they were felled. They’re the beams that caught fire and then brought the lead roof down with them.

“Is it possible to recreate that kind of medieval artisan work with timber on that scale? Or in fact is that the great compromise you’d make?”


He said there was a huge debate in Europe around the restoration of medieval castles.

“Certainly heritage architects argue that the most important thing to do is stabilise and where necessary use modern materials to make them safe,” Professor McPhee said.

“You might say, ‘well it’s not actually recreating Notre Dame as it was’. But perhaps it can’t be recreated as it was.”

Prayers for an icon


Hopes for a rebuild of the iconic cathedral are strong among Parisians the ABC spoke with.

With the beloved cathedral partially in ruins, tens of thousands lined the Seine to observe the historic moment — a masterpiece of gothic architecture forever changed.

Sister Madeleine, a Dominican nun from Paris, was visibly upset when she arrived to inspect Notre Dame, a day after the blaze.


“It’s a very deep sadness. The spire … is what we saw from a distance in Paris,” she told the ABC.

“I hope we’ll be able to rebuild.

“Even now that the situation is under control, we feel a lot of sadness. This is something huge for western culture, and for the world. It was hard to imagine this could ever happen.”

Parisian Beatrice Champetier arrived to lay flowers — it was the least she could do, she said, for a building that “is our life”.

The Friends of Notre Dame, a society founded to foster the preservation of the cathedral, has held concerns about the building’s structural integrity for a long time.

One of the group’s members, Ron Ivey, said he was “heartbroken”.

“One of the most moving things was to see all the French people who were there that were singing French hymns and songs, it was deeply moving,” he said.

“The people, the spirit of the people, is going to help rebuild this building.”


Ultimately, the Cathedral is an extraordinary construction, and a creation of breathtaking beauty. It is an iconic remnant of time long gone and it is with great hope we look forward to its restoration.

For those inclined, here is an historic summary from Wiki of its construction, its history over nearly 1000 years and its extraordinary features.

The chronicler Jean de Saint-Victor [fr] recorded in the Memorial Historiarum that the construction of Notre-Dame began between 24 March and 25 April 1163 with the laying of the cornerstone in the presence of King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III.[18][19] Four phases of construction took place under bishops Maurice de Sully and Eudes de Sully (not related to Maurice), according to masters whose names have been lost or were not recorded.


Cross-section of the double supporting arches and buttresses of the nave, drawn by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc as they would have appeared from 1220 to 1230.

The first phase began with the construction of the choir and its two ambulatories. According to Robert of Torigni, the choir was completed in 1177 and the high altar consecrated on 19 May 1182 by Cardinal Henri de Château-Marçay, the Papal legate in Paris, and Maurice de Sully.[21] The second phase, from 1182 to 1190, concerned the construction of the four sections of the nave behind the choir and its aisles to the height of the clerestories. It began after the completion of the choir but ended before the final allotted section of the nave was finished. Beginning in 1190, the bases of the facade were put in place, and the first traverses were completed.[8] Heraclius of Caesarea called for the Third Crusade in 1185 from the still-incomplete cathedral.

The Crown of Thorns was placed in the cathedral in 1231 by King Louis IX, during the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle.

The decision was made to add a transept at the choir, where the altar was located, in order to bring more light into the center of the church. The use of simpler four-part rather than six-part rib vaults meant that the roofs were stronger and could be higher. After Bishop Maurice de Sully’s death in 1196, his successor, Eudes de Sully (unrelated to the previous Bishop) oversaw the completion of the transepts, and continued work on the nave, which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in 1208. By this time, the western facade was already largely built, though it was not completed until around the mid-1240s. Between 1225 and 1250 the upper gallery of the nave was constructed, along with the two towers on the west facade.[22]

Another significant change came in the mid-13th century, when the transepts were remodeled in the latest Rayonnant style; in the late 1240s Jean de Chelles added a gabled portal to the north transept topped off by a spectacular rose window. Shortly afterward (from 1258) Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept. Both these transept portals were richly embellished with sculpture; the south portal features scenes from the lives of St Stephen and of various local saints, while the north portal featured the infancy of Christ and the story of Theophilus in the tympanum, with a highly influential statue of the Virgin and Child in the trumeau.[23][22] Master builders Pierre de Chelles, Jean Ravy [fr], Jean le Bouteiller, and Raymond du Temple succeeded de Chelles and de Montreuil and then each other in the construction of the cathedral. Ravy completed de Chelles’s rood screen and chevet chapels, then began the 15-metre (49 ft) flying buttresses of the choir. Jean le Bouteiller, Ravy’s nephew, succeeded him in 1344 and was himself replaced on his death in 1363 by his deputy, Raymond du Temple.

Philip the Fair opened the first Estates General in the cathedral in 1302.

An important innovation in the 13th century was the introduction of the flying buttress. Before the buttresses, all of the weight of the roof pressed outward and down to the walls, and the abutments supporting them. With the flying buttress, the weight was carried by the ribs of the vault entirely outside the structure to a series of counter-supports, which were topped with stone pinnacles which gave them greater weight. The buttresses meant that the walls could be higher and thinner, and could have much larger windows. The date of the first buttresses is not known with any precision; they were installed some time in the 13th century. The first buttresses were replaced by larger and stronger ones in the 14th century; these had a reach of fifteen meters between the walls and counter-supports.


Plan of the Cathedral made by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. Portals and nave to the left, a choir in the center, and apse and ambulatory to the right.


Early six-part rib vaults of the nave. The ribs transferred the thrust of the weight of the roof downward and outwards to the pillars and the supporting buttresses.


The massive buttresses which counter the outward thrust from the rib vaults of the nave.


Later flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame (14th century) reached 15 meters from the wall to the counter-supports.

During the Renaissance, the Gothic style fell out of style, and the internal pillars and walls of Notre-Dame were covered with tapestries.[26]

In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged some of the statues of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous.[27] During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the cathedral underwent numerous alterations to comply with the more classical style of the period. The sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from 1413, was destroyed in 1786. The spire, which had been damaged by the wind, was removed in the second part of the 18th century.

Modern history


East facade of Notre-Dame in the 1860s.

In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west façade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded.[28] Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby, and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. For a time the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.[29] The cathedral’s great bells escaped being melted down. All of the other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the portal of the cloister, were destroyed.[8] The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food and other non-religious purposes.[27]

In July 1801, the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, signed an agreement to restore the cathedral to the Church. It was formally transferred on 18 April 1802. On 2 December 1804 Napoleon and his wife Joséphine, with Pope Pius VII officiating, were crowned Emperor and Empress of France. The cathedral was also the site of Napoleon’s marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810.
19th century reconstruction

The cathedral was functioning in the early 19th century, but was half-ruined inside and battered throughout. In 1831, the novel Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame had an enormous success, and brought the cathedral new attention. In 1844 King Louis Philippe ordered that the church be restored. The commission for the restoration was won by two architects, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who was then just 31 years old. They supervised a large team of sculptors, glass makers and other craftsmen who remade, working from drawings or engravings, the original decoration, or, if they did not have a model, adding new elements they felt were in the spirit of the original style. They made a taller and more ornate reconstruction of the original spire (including a statue of Saint Thomas that resembles Viollet-le-Duc), as well as adding the sculpture of mythical creatures on the Galerie des Chimères. The restoration took twenty five years.[27]

During the liberation of Paris in August 1944, the cathedral suffered some minor damage from stray bullets. Some of the medieval glass was damaged, and was replaced by glass with modern abstract designs. On 26 August, a special mass was held in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Paris from the Germans; it was attended by General Charles De Gaulle and General Philippe Leclerc.

In 1963, on the initiative of culture minister André Malraux and to mark the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral, the facade was cleaned of the centuries of soot and grime, restoring it to its original off-white color.[30]

Artwork, relics, and other antiques stored at the cathedral include the supposed crown of thorns which Jesus wore prior to his crucifixion and a piece of the cross on which he was crucified, a 13th-century organ, stained-glass windows, and bronze statues of the 12 apostles.[31]


The full description is far too involved to be added here. Suffice to say this incredible building must be restored if at all possible. It represents such an incredible and rich heritage. It is an absolutely irrefutable link to a time where such a design and construction was nigh on impossible. And even today, the lessons of engineering, construction and architecture of those times are still incredibly relevant. Then there is the history. Oh the history.


Viva la France!

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