Heritage Properties Regenerate, Revitalise With Balance Heritage Architecture

Over the last year there has been a significant increase in the sale of rural and regional city properties. This has seemingly been in response to the COVID situation whereby many people have felt the need to re-assess their living situation and move to a more relaxed, more comfortable home in places such as Geelong, Ballarat, the region of Gippsland and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. 

Often the properties purchased enjoy a heritage overlay or a singular heritage listing. Beautiful Victorian terraces, villas and older Georgian style homes offer a whole raft of new and quite difficult impediments to developing a modern living space yet still maintain the period charm and heritage features of some of these wonderful old homes. 

There are eclectic purchases that include old churches, former hotels, corner stores and even schools. Locales stretch from central Victoria – Castlemaine, Daylesford, Kyneton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Maryborough through to the Murray Valley, the high country around Bright, Mansfield and Beechworth.

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. 

To renovate these types of properties can be immensely rewarding and satisfying but 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. 

It’s everyone’s desire to create a comfortable and liveable space, a home that is fitted with modern standards and a vision of space and light. It is possible to achieve true heritage compliance and beauty that is a highly desirable, comfortable residence.

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 How Do You Value It?

Shell House, Spring Street, Melbourne. Wikimedia.

The CBD of Melbourne is short on one thing – space. There is a continual battle to achieve useable space by developers, the reason is simple – you can only go up! Going up means one thing – profitability. In this case we are not speaking of a moderate profit, we are looking at mega profits. Now we get to the latest conflict in the CBD – the dispute over the Heritage listed Shell building on the corner of Flinders Street and Spring Street designed by the late Harry Seidler, the famed modernist Architect. The space in question is the two sections of the Shell Plaza opening onto Flinders Lane and Spring Street. The Shell Building and its Plaza are heritage listed. Note it’s not just the Shell Building itself but the adjoining Plaza is also included. The Plaza is an integral part of the overall design and, as such, is covered by the heritage citation of 2017.

For your interest here is a recent article Clay Lucas published in The Age April 5, 2021.

Plonked on a plaza: Skyscraper plan puts spotlight on heritage laws

Marcel Mihulka and his family chose to live near Shell House – the skyscraper on the corner of Flinders and Spring streets – in part because of the heritage listing stopping redevelopment of one of Melbourne’s most decorated pieces of architecture.

But the heritage listing for the 28-level tower, designed by world-renowned architect Harry Seidler, will be set aside if an application before authorities is successful.

Marcel Mihulka on the plaza where Shell House’s owners want to build a second skyscraper. Credit:Jason South

The tower’s owners, the Besen and Roth families, want to dig up its rear plaza in Flinders Lane and build a 33-storey tower, standing apart from Shell House but linked via a sky bridge at the 15th level.

“If they can do that to this building, what’s next? Why have heritage laws if they can just plonk this tower here?” said Mr Mihulka, whose property is not overly affected by the plan but who is angered by what he sees as its brazen nature.

Ultimately, Planning Minister Richard Wynne, whose office for a time was in the tower, could decide on the plan.

Two integral parts of Shell House’s design, according to its 2017 heritage citation, are the larger Spring Street plaza and a smaller one in Flinders Lane, about 1200 square metres in size.

The plazas were designed to complement the tower, completed in 1989 by the Shell company. Seen from above, the skyscraper is the shape of a nautilus shell.

In 1994 Shell sold the tower for $135 million to its current owners, the Roth family from Sydney, and a Melbourne company with Daniel Besen among its directors.

The group wants to replace the Flinders Lane plaza, referred to in one of the company’s submissions as “underdeveloped land”, with a tower they argue will complement Shell House.

Shell House is Melbourne’s only tower designed by Seidler, a controversial pioneer of modernism in Australia and one of the country’s most influential architects. It won both state and national architecture awards.

Proposed development area

Seidler – who died in 2006 – designed many Sydney towers including Australia Square and the much-criticised Blues Point tower. His work redefined Australia’s city skylines. His other acclaimed buildings include the Australian embassy in Paris.

The plan for the rear plaza of his Melbourne tower has been supported by Seidler’s firm, now led by his wife, architect Penelope Evatt Seidler. The firm worked on recent renovations to Shell House.

Also in support is architectural historian Philip Goad, from Melbourne University, a leading modernism expert.

In a submission to Heritage Victoria, he argues the larger Spring and Flinders streets plaza is unaffected by the plan, and a new building on the Flinders Lane plaza would be sympathetic to both Shell House’s heritage and another building on the site, the art nouveau Milton House. It was built in 1901. The new tower would project over Milton House.

An artist’s impression of the proposed tower behind 1 Spring Street.Credit:Source: Phillip Nominees Pty Ltd

Other experts, though, have questioned the plan.

Another Melbourne University architecture academic, Rory Hyde, said while the proposed new tower was respectful and “seems to be of high quality and considered”, the entire site was heritage listed, not just the Shell House tower.

Harry Seidler’s legacy

He said increasing density on another Melbourne city block was “part of a worrying trend”, and had already happened at Nauru House on the corner of Collins and Exhibition streets, where a tower has been built just metres away.

Professor Hyde argues the plaza should not be built over.

“We need more of these public spaces, not fewer,” he said.

The National Trust has submitted a strong objection, with Victorian chief executive Simon Ambrose saying the proposed tower will “completely undermine” the integrity of Seidler’s original design.

“The approval of this proposal would set a dangerous precedent for all places provided with the highest level of heritage protection in our state,” Mr Ambrose says.

The building is almost entirely leased to government departments, including the Department of Transport, Public Transport Victoria, the Taxi Service Commission and VicRoads.

The tower would cantilever over Milton House, built in 1901.Credit:Phillip Nominees Pty Ltd

Its owners spend $1.3 million a year “maintaining and conserving” the tower and Milton House.

Heritage consultant Rohan Storey made a submission opposing the plan on behalf of lobby group Melbourne Heritage Action. He says the tower is a fantastic example of a free-standing Seidler tower.

“Modernist towers tended to be free-standing and surrounded by open space,” he said, adding the tower’s plaza’s were “landscaped with materials that are Seidler signatures; it’s not just a plaza, it’s a Seidler plaza”.

Melbourne City councillor Rohan Leppert, chair of the city’s heritage committee, says the proposal could not be approved by Mr Wynne even if heritage authorities allow it to proceed. “The lack of setbacks render the proposal prohibited under the Melbourne Planning Scheme,” he said.

If Heritage Victoria approves the plan it will go to the Planning Minister, Mr Wynne, for approval. His spokeswoman said the application was only now being assessed by the heritage body.

Harry Seidler in his own words

The late Harry Seidler talks about his career. From a 2004 documentary, with footage and images of his buildings as they stand today.

Mr Mihulka says Shell House is “a great example of modernist architecture and one Melburnians are rightly proud of”. He says the new tower, designed by architects Ingenhoven and Architectus, “looks world class – but [Shell House] is heritage-listed for a reason”.

The skyscraper’s owners argue the project should be allowed to proceed because it will improve pedestrian access through the city block. “If they want to improve pedestrian flow, you can do that without a tower,” said Mr Mihulka.

Also to clarify the matter further here is the Statement of Significance from the Victorian Heritage database.

Statement of Significance

What is significant?

1 Spring Street, Melbourne comprising an office tower and northern podium, main foyer with Arthur Boyd mural ‘Bathers and Pulpit Rock’ and external plazas including a large external plaza at the Spring Street corner containing the Charles O Perry sculpture ‘Shell Mace’. The building was originally known as Shell House, and is referred to as such below.

History Summary

Shell House was the third headquarters building erected for the Shell Company of Australia Ltd in Melbourne. Constructed in 1985-89, the building replaced earlier headquarters constructed in 1933 and 1958 and was occupied by Shell until 2003-2004. The company commissioned the highly regarded commercial architect and leading Australian modernist, Harry Seidler, to design Shell House. Seidler was trained by Modernist architects in the United States before arriving in Australia in 1948 and throughout his career his work continued to display the ideals of this movement. This included the use of basic geometric shapes, sculptural and simple form, visual expression of structure and generous civic spaces. Seidler continued to explore skyscraper design from the 1960s to the 1990s, producing a series of office buildings in Australia and overseas. Shell House is the only example of these built in Victoria. Shell House won a number of awards including the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Victoria Merit Award in 1991 and the National RAIA Award in the same year.

Description Summary

Located on a sloping L-shaped site at the south-eastern corner of the Melbourne city grid, Shell House is a late twentieth century International style office tower with side podium, basement carpark and external plazas. The building is a concrete structure with granite-faced lower facades and a repetitive floor construction system of clear span beams of equal length. With an interest in geometry, simplicity of form and clear expression of structure, Harry Seidler designed the building using two counterpoint curved sections to maximise views to the south and east, to accommodate existing underground railway tunnels and to present a commanding entry point to the city. The core of the building, containing lifts and amenities, is located on the off-view north side and the office floors wrap around this core.

The building integrates dramatic level changes for public access from the south, south east and north through a central control point located in the main Spring Street foyer. This foyer is accessed via stairs from Flinders Street or directly from the primary external entry plaza at the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets. The main entry plaza contains a dominant structural and sculptural building pier and a specially commissioned sculpture, ‘Shell Mace’ by American sculptor and architect, Charles O Perry (1989). The foyer has soaring ceilings, with a mural, ‘Bathers and Pulpit Rock’ by Arthur Boyd (1988) and sets of escalators which lead to the mezzanine and conference centre level. The conference centre provides access to meeting rooms arranged around a circular light well, an auditorium and a narrow secondary pedestrian plaza entry from Flinders Lane. The mezzanine level provides access to a former cafeteria space, with built in seating arranged around the base of the light well, a servery and adjoining commercial kitchen.

The office tower uses a repetitive floor construction system of clear span beams of equal length, resulting in a uniform 15 metre wide column-free space from the services core to the external windows. This, along with the concealment of computer cabling and electrical wiring under a 250 mm access floor, creates an interior aesthetic which is open, light and spacious. All office floors have expansive views to the south and east of the city. The top two floors of the office tower contain an executive suite with external terrace garden, garden court and spiral granite staircase between levels. A variety of quality finishes have been used throughout the building for paving, floor and wall cladding, including Italian granite and travertine, and much of this has been retained.

Some changes have been made to the office floor configurations and fittings, including the executive suite.

This site is part of the traditional land of the people of the Kulin Nation.How is it significant?

Shell House is of architectural and aesthetic significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:

Criterion D

Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.

Criterion E

Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.Why is it significant?

Shell House is significant at the State level for the following reasons:

Shell House is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of a late modernist office building in Victoria, designed by one of the style’s most accomplished proponents, the renowned Australian architect, Harry Seidler. Late modernism, as expressed in Shell House is demonstrated principally through sculptural form, use of solid concrete and other massive materials, and a variety of textural finishes. Shell House is also significant for the clarity with which it expresses particular themes and motifs characteristic of Seidler’s work. These include the use of opposing curvilinear forms and the generous planning of public areas, both externally an internally.

Shell House is one of an important series of high rise tower projects designed by Harry Seidler both nationally and internationally from the 1960s to the 1990s, and is the only one located in Victoria. Shell House is of architectural significance for its innovative design response to a difficult site and for its integration of dramatic level changes for public access from surrounding streets through a central lower foyer control point. Shell House won a number of awards including the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Victoria Merit Award in 1991 and the National RAIA Award in the same year. Seidler is considered to be one of the major talents in Australian architectural history who made a substantial contribution to Australian architecture. [Criterion D]

Shell House is aesthetically significant for the sculptural effect created by the interlocking curvilinear form of the building that is reflected in the interior planning. The quality of the interior spaces and their relationship to the extensive outdoor terraces at several levels of the building is of high aesthetic value, both visually and experientially. The location at the south-east corner of the Hoddle Grid is highlighted by elements such as the large tapered pier at the Spring Street/Flinders Street entrance.

The aesthetic qualities of the place are enhanced by the incorporation of large scale artworks which complement the architecture and were selected by Seidler for the building. Significant pieces include the foyer mural ‘Bathers and Pulpit Rock’ by Arthur Boyd (1988) and the external plaza sculpture ‘Shell Mace’ by Charles O Perry (1989). [Criterion E]

The ability to appreciate the relevant aesthetic characteristics is enhanced by the high degree of intactness and integrity of the Place, both internally and externally.

TO SUMMARISE:

Let’s get to the nub of the problem. Developers are prepared to take great financial risks to overcome heritage listing and overlays. The Corkman Cowboys stood to make a huge profit on the twelve-storey apartment block they proposed to build. The promoters of the Metro Nightclub development which saw irreplaceable decorative mouldings and a Melbourne icon destroyed were motivated purely by profit. In the case of many such CBD developments the aim to create apartment complexes is at odds with the current glut of unoccupied apartment buildings within the area. But development is often a long term strategy so when the market turns? – it’s profit all the way. 

It comes down to what we value as a community and as a society. Do we want to become another Shanghai or Kowloon with not a millimetre of open space available for recreation, for trees, for greenery? 

Why is this happening? Quite simply it’s made possible by the impotence of the current heritage system. Heritage Victoria is somewhat underfunded by the Victorian government and complicating this is its reliance on local government maintaining both local heritage overlays and to some extent policing heritage laws. In a number of municipal areas it would seem the preference would be for increased rates and planning fees from developers. There is little public understanding of what heritage values are and why there is a value placed on heritage. Only a few weeks ago on the Balance Facebook page we have had comments from people decrying the Eastern Freeway heritage listing and more recently the difficulty of owning heritage properties in Brunswick.

There is little or no knowledge of the heritage grants available in various locations and little appreciation of some of the magnificent architecture that has been and is still retained via the Heritage system.

Now is the time for genuine action and response. We feel for the Besen and Roth families and their dire need for more profit, but frankly, we would like to see a plan brought forward to bring the Shell Plazas to life for public usage. The last thing Melbourne’s CBD needs is another multi storey tower adjacent to parklands. It really is time for a heritage summit, bringing together local government, State government, the National Trust, Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council of Victoria as well as developers and property owners. There must be an acknowledged and accepted recognition of what heritage values are and why heritage preservation is so very important. In the UK heritage protection is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This funding is substantial and guarantees heritage action where and when required. 

We would like to see some of Britain’s laws on heritage introduced here. For instance, if you demolish a heritage building in Britain you are forced to rebuild it to the exact specifications of the original building and, at the same time, suffer heavy fines for having demolished the building. 

In Australia, it seems that heritage listing is seen as a challenge (to overcome) by developers and their advisors. 

Well, no more – heritage is who we are, where we have come from and what we hold in true high esteem.  It’s time for a change. Right about NOW

The Battle Continues. Is it heritage or just a ‘façade’?

East Melbourne is an area covered by both Heritage overlays and individual Heritage listings. It features some of Melbourne’s grandest buildings. Over the years there have been many stoushes to protect what is a unique vista and part of Melbourne’s living history.

The latest property to be put at risk is the ‘landmark’ East Melbourne Mansion, Eblana, the former home of Young and Jackson’s publican Thomas Jackson. It was built in 1883 in the ‘Grand Italianate’ style of the times.

Developers consider if the façade remains then there’s no reason they cannot demolish the rear of a stately home and replace it with a modern tower, in this case four stories high, rising to 15m over the height limit for the precinct.

There’s a simple reason such projects get traction – profit. Four new luxury apartments towering over the original building offer a staggering return on investment. To the property owner or developer the equation is simple – it’s worth pushing the boundaries on Heritage to achieve a compromise. But quite simply there should NEVER be a compromise of any sort.

As the following article rightly identifies, façadism is the new go to ‘soft’ option for developers.

Frankly façadism is an absurdity. The character of the Heritage neighbourhood is simply lost to glass and steel. Natural light is blocked and in all honesty, what is left is often nothing short of comical. Quite simply, it is both inappropriate and a travesty to see some of the rather pathetic examples described as ’sympathetic design’. Market St South Melbourne is a good example. It has several ‘façades’ which are simply the front walls of previous buildings whereby visitors then enter an extensive courtyard gracing the entrance to multi storey glass towered apartment buildings.

The proposal for Eblana is simply the thin edge of the wedge. It cannot be permitted to proceed. Here is the recent article from the Age regarding the planning application, the objections of local residents and the National Trust to the proposed project and ‘façadism’.


Young and Jackson founder’s grand home the latest to get ‘facade’ treatment

Developers have lodged plans for the partial demolition of landmark East Melbourne mansion Eblana, built for Young and Jackson publican Thomas Jackson in 1883, to make way for an apartment tower.

At almost 42 metres, the tower would soar from behind the facade and front two rooms of the grand Italianate-style building at 140-142 Jolimont Road. The new building, home to four luxury apartments, would be almost three times the 15-metre recommended height limit for the precinct.

East Melbourne residents Greg Bisinella (centre). Nicole and Chris Pelchen, Sylvia Black and Diana Bosak outside Eblana.

Human Habitats director Will Pearce said the proposed development sought to protect the grandeur of the existing building’s frontage, while including a sympathetic design at the rear of the property.

But the application has been strongly opposed by local residents, representing the latest flashpoint in a long-running stoush between developers and heritage advocates to balance the preservation of character with new developments in historic precincts.

Eblana, the grand house built for Young and Jackson’s co-founder Thomas Jackson in 1883.

Prompted by a raft of developments in which the facade of buildings are retained in a nod to the original heritage – while the rear of the building is demolished for modern towers – the National Trust of Australia is now drafting guidelines for heritage-sensitive development across Victoria.

The trust’s Victorian director of advocacy, Felicity Watson, said “facadism” was a poor design outcome.

Some of the most egregious examples of the practice in Melbourne include the former Celtic Club Irish pub in Queen Street, the former Turf Club Hotel in North Melbourne, and the former Palace Theatre in Bourke Street, she said.

An artist’s impression of the proposed development at landmark East Melbourne mansion, Eblana.
The former Turf Club Hotel on Flemington Rd, North Melbourne.

“If you only retain the facade, or you only retain the external walls and a very small portion of the building, it removes all of the evidence of the building’s former function, its methods and materials of construction and also its ability to be understood within the streetscape,” Ms Watson said.

The National Trust says the former Celtic Club, on the corner of Queen Street and Lonsdale Street is an example of facadism being a poor design outcome.

Ms Watson said the proposed tower on Jolimont Road, East Melbourne, would dominate neighbouring buildings in its current form.

“East Melbourne is well known to have a very high number of significant 19th century buildings, and a number of very intact streetscapes and generally, we don’t want to see the erosion of that character of East Melbourne.”

By Sunday, 106 objections had been lodged with the City of Melbourne to the proposed development. A spokesman said council’s urban planners would carefully consider the application, and any development would be required to suit the area’s special local character and history.

Mr Pearce, whose company Human Habitats completed a town planning and urban context report for the City of Melbourne, said Eblana was not an “individually significant” building under current heritage guidelines.

“From a heritage response point of view, a superior outcome has been achieved than what the policy actually expects,” he said.

The role of town planning was to balance maintaining existing character and modernising the city, Mr Pearce said.

“There’s been considerable thought and effort put into the facade of the new building, and how that complements the existing heritage building on the site.”

The City of Melbourne introduced heritage policies last year, which have been approved by Planning Minister Richard Wynne, in an attempt to better protect the city’s historic buildings and precincts.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, who leads the heritage council’s portfolio, said the new guidelines – while not binding – made it clear that facadism would no longer be tolerated.

“The days of as-of-right facadism in the City of Melbourne are over,” Cr Leppert said.

“And new developments will take some time to adjust to that new reality. But we value heritage buildings in the round, in their three-dimensional form, and that’s the expectation the market will now need to adjust to.”

Greg Bisinella, who is the heritage and planning convener of the East Melbourne Group, said the proposed 42-metre development behind Eblana’s facade was disrespectful to the area’s heritage and locals were livid.

“It just sticks out like a sore thumb,” he said. “It is completely incongruent to the suburbs of Jolimont and East Melbourne.”

Mr Bisinella said retaining the building’s facade was not enough and that the internal building needed to be preserved.

“You lose the integrity of that building. It’s starting to chip away at one piece of living history, you are losing something that can’t be replaced,” he said.

Source: theage.com.au


For advice, assessment and reportage on Heritage architecture and prospective Heritage listing, please feel free to contact our principal Architect Andrew Fedorowicz on 0418 341 443 or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Andrew is a Heritage Architect and a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects with many years’ experience in Heritage Architecture, both public and private buildings.

Balance Architecture is passionate about Heritage Architecture, its preservation and restoration. Each year the base of our heritage ‘capital’ is continually eroded with attempts to bypass Heritage listings and the overall intent of heritage preservation. The time for this to stop is now. It requires a bi-partisan approach and cooperation between all relevant authorities – State Government, Local Government and a properly funded Heritage Council of Victoria.

The ground rules must be spelled out and understood by all – property owners, local government officials and developers alike. Heritage is precious – it’s our responsibility to ensure it’s here for future generations – not just a ‘façade’. It’s really up to each one of us to ensure its proper protection and to maintain the respect it deserves.

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

Balance Architecture – For expert advice, planning and delivery on all Residential Heritage Architecture

With current Real Estate clearances at an all-time high in Melbourne and Rural Victoria, many buyers are purchasing property that carries a Heritage listing or is a part of a Heritage Overlay. This can be a complicating factor and definitely requires expert advice and direction. Balance Architecture offer qualified and experienced support to buyers purchasing Residential Heritage listed properties throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.

As a Residential Heritage Architectural firm, Balance Architecture offers a steady hand and sensible programming of any and all renovations and refurbishments of Heritage homes. Georgian, Victorian, Federation or Mid Century Modern – Balance and its principal Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz, offer practical sound planning as well as bringing real excitement and flair to the recovery of the true Heritage identity of your valuable new property.

Today, it really is the merging of modern living, the space and comfort that is required with many properties often constructed well over a century ago, still retaining much of the older infrastructure and internals.

Balance Architecture will ensure the essential and required heritage features are retained, refurbished or replaced, faithfully adhering to the fittings, materials and building methodologies prescribed by Heritage authorities. At the same time, issues such as electricals, plumbing and painted surfaces will be addressed. What was acceptable 50 to100 years ago is not necessarily so today! Lead paint, antiquated electricals and lighting, creaky old iron pipes and ineffective drainage and sewerage must be replaced with modern functional infrastructure.

Ultimately, it is a combination of livability and maintaining the classic beauty of a gorgeous older building to the levels of appearance and quality as required by Heritage Victoria. It is no simple task and for that reason it’s imperative to seek and avail yourself of expert advice and experience.

Andrew Fedorowicz, Principal Architect for Balance Architecture, is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects. Andrew is a highly experienced Architect with over 30 years in Architectural Design and construction, its administration and ancillary drafting. Clearly Andrew represents the upper echelon of his profession, having won numerous awards and having personally managed and supervised over 320 high level projects.

It may be that you have purchased a Heritage property in regional Victoria – Ballarat, Bendigo, Daylesford, Kyneton, Mt Macedon – or the Dandenong Ranges or Gippsland. Alternatively, you’ve been fortunate enough to purchase in Greater Melbourne– Kew, Hawthorn, South Yarra, Clifton Hill, Ivanhoe, Eaglemont or Heidelberg to name just a few areas where both Heritage listed homes and suburban Heritage overlays exist.

Make the decision now – engage a Heritage Architect, call Balance Architecture now on 0418 341 443 and arrange a free no-obligation consultation. Meet directly with Andrew and start the process of re-developing your home to its real potential and true heritage. Alternatively, simply leave your details here for a prompt reply and scheduled meeting.

Balance Architecture and Interior Design

Luxury, Comfort and Style. Heritage Values, Heritage Design.

Top Tips On Renovating Successfully From Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

During the year the team from Balance Architecture + Interior Design have shared some great tips for successful renovations. We have chosen their top tips and put them together in this year-end blog:

The first tip is to list the positive and negative features of a space.  Consider carefully what works well and what doesn’t, think about what you love about it and what you want to get rid of, also what needs changing. What is the purpose of the space? How can it best work for you and your family?  Try to anticipate any likely changes to your lifestyle in the future that will affect the space.

The second tip is when renovating a heritage home to do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Sensitivity to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst. Architects and Interior Designers, such as Andrew Fedorowicz and Amanda Richmond, that have the experience and knowledge required for heritage renovations will ensure an end result that resonates with the true history of your home.

The third tip is to detect any problems in the building that require addressing before embarking upon structural changes and beautification.  For example, a damp house is a serious problem, causing building defects, health problems and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are condensation/horizontal/falling and most commonly, rising damp.

The fourth tip is to create space. Amanda Richmond recommends creating a view from room to room, such as overlooking a lower level from an upper level or through placement of windows to capture the outside vista. Use colour to visually move between spaces, remember that darker colours advance, lighter colours retract. Define spaces by using contrasting materials and remember a fluid movement through the space helps create the illusion of more space.

Resolve Building Issues Before You Renovate

Ivanhoe House

Prevention is always better than cure! Identifying and resolving underlining building issues prior to decorating or renovating will save you time and money. So don’t jump into those renovations without checking out the health of your building first.  Interior Designer Amanda Richmond and Architect Andrew Fedorowicz from Balance Architecture + Interior Design say the things to look for are –

• Roofs & Walls out of alignment
• Ceiling discoloration suggesting roof leaks
• Damp patches
• Sudden leaks
• Bouncing floors
• Bulging, peeling plasterwork
• Unexplained cracking
• Persistent musky smell

Possible causes may be –
Blocked gutters, rising damp, defective internal plumbing fittings & fixtures, cracked roofing tiles, rusted gutters, inadequate internal box gutters, no roof overflow considerations, termite infestation, defective floor stumps/foundations, tree roots.

If you are a handy man or woman or have a handy man or woman friend or family member you can check out some of these issues fairly easily and resolve them.  However, most of these issues will require the services of a professional plumber or builder and, in the case of termites, a pest control company.  It is important to have any of these issues dealt with properly and resolved before you spend money on renovating or decorating your home as over time those problems will only get worse and ruin the effect of the renovations.

Imagine if you have just painted a room a lovely, fresh colour and the next thing you have a major leak from the ceiling down the walls or rising damp coming up the walls and ruining the paintwork?  It is just not worth the risk and heartache.  So please follow this wise advice from experienced, professional renovators Amanda Richmond and Andrew Fedorowicz and make sure you have a healthy building before you renovate!

Renovating A Californian Bungalow

Californian Bungalow

Californian Bungalow – Travancore, Ascot Vale House

The Californian bungalow was a popular house style in the United States from 1910 to 1939 and became popular in Australia from 1913 onwards, coinciding with the rise of the Hollywood film industry, which popularised American clothes, furniture, cars and houses. The original bungalows in the United States were built to meet the needs of the middle classes who were moving from apartments to private houses in great numbers. They were low cost, low profile and modest homes. The growing suburbs of cities like Sydney and Melbourne, with a similar climate to California, required a low cost solution for housing shortages, the Californian bungalow was a perfect fit.

Today a proliferation of Californian bungalows are to be found in many of the older suburbs of Melbourne, such as Moonee Ponds and Bentleigh. They are highly valued and a sympathetic renovation brings them up to date, improving their liveability and desirability as a family home. Balance Architecture + Interior Design recently renovated Californian bungalows in Travancore and Ascot Vale.
When walls were removed in the Travancore home, it opened up the entire rear living space, creating the effect of doubling the size. A new kitchen was installed with granite bench tops and European electrical and plumbing fixtures. The original pantry area was upgraded with granite benches as well as new shelving and preparation areas. The bathroom was renovated into a larger, multifunctional room with separate bath and shower facilities and, along with the Laundry & Powder Room, electrical mesh heating was laid under the tiles. Floor boards were replaced and windows repaired, including double glazing of a lead-light window.

The kitchen renovation in Ascot Vale was designed to be sympatico with the French provincial style, allow more light to the space and enough room for multiple users. The kitchen was moved to the dining area, giving it visual access to the lounge room and pool.  A new leadlight window was installed to increase light levels, while providing subtle colour, and sky domes pour daylight into a naturally dark, internal space. Blue Pearl polished granite benchtops reflect the light.

Architecture by Andrew Fedorowicz and interior design by Amanda Richmond.

Every Home Has A Story, Reveal It With An Expert Renovation

Renovation at Deepdene

Renovation at Deepdene

Every home has a story, as evidenced in the television program “Who’s Been Sleeping In My House”. In this series, aired on ABC, Archaeologist Adam Ford seeks to uncover the hidden stories of people’s houses across Australia, uncovering fascinating stories about the past residents and the past uses of the buildings. Sensitivity to the past history of a home, including the original architectural features and design sensibilities, is important to uncover the beauty, personality and charm of the house in which you live.

So when it comes time to renovate or remodel your heritage home, do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Employing an Architect that is experienced at heritage renovations, knowledgeable and sensitive to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst and produce an end result that will resonate with the true history of your home. It’s just as important to call on the skills and experience of an Interior Designer that understands the historical elements and features of the building and designs interiors that are contemporary yet sympathetic to the past style and grace of your period home.

The team at Balance Architecture + Interior Design offer this level of experience, expertise and integrity for renovations, restorations or remodelling of period homes. Architect Andrew Fedorowicz is registered as an Associate Architect with The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (A.R.A.I.A.) and has been in private practice for 34 years specialising in heritage work. Interior Designer Amanda Richmond has a B.A. in Interior Design and worked as an administrator in her own private building company specialising in heritage renovations. She is Past President and Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia. Put your home in the hands of the experts.

Specialist Renovations For Heritage Homes

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The renovation or remodelling of a heritage home is a specialist project. Owners want to maintain the integrity of the architectural style and unique period features, but also need to create a space suitable for modern living. Architect Andrew Fedorowicz (A.R.A.I.A.) and Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, of Balance Architecture + Interior Design are experts in heritage renovation.

Andrew Fedorowicz has been in private practice for 34 years specialising in heritage work and is vastly experienced in Architectural practice, from design to construction. With a strong eye for detail and a comprehensive understanding of structural engineering and associated disciplines Andrew has major experience in complex restorations. The recipient of major awards from both the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Housing Industry Association, Andrew works at the highest level of architectural excellence.

Amanda Richmond is a Past President and current fellow at the Design Institute of Australia through its Victorian chapter. She excels at creating an integrated, pleasing interior for heritage homes. Her award winning designs are contemporary yet sympathetic to the past style and grace of historical and period homes, creating elegant, liveable, stylish interiors that make a house a home.  With 18 years’ experience running her own building company specialising in heritage renovations, she is well versed in Architectural administration and Interior Design.

It is imperative to understand the finer points of an interior design that fully integrates with the heritage of a building. The team from Balance Architecture + Interior Designs can deliver on both the authenticity of the heritage style in their  renovations well as creating an interior that reflects the personality and style of the home owner.

Architectural Design Makes The Most of Location

House design takes advantage of location

House design takes advantage of location – Mt Beauty House

Where and how a building sits in the landscape is vital to its success.
A newly built house designed by Architect Andrew Fedorowicz is located on a ridge overlooking a deep valley in Victoria, looking towards a distant mountain range. The hero of this brief was that the stunning 180 degree views had to be maintained throughout the year. This is where Andrew Fedorowicz’s many years of experience in Architecture came into play.

To maximise the visual aspects of the house, service areas like the laundry and mud room are located downstairs and behind the house, fully utilizing the slope of the block and allowing the front of the house to be used for living spaces, with views spanning the horizon.

Superb views

Superb views

Andrew has selected colours and materials for the building that reflect natural materials found in the local geology, ensuring the house sits into the landscape, in sympathy with its surrounds.

Transparent roofing allows natural light into the interiors while at the same time reducing heat and glare and providing protection from inclement weather. To further reduce heat in summer yet contain the heat in winter, double glazed windows and doors have been installed.

Extensive terrace is protected

Extensive terrace is protected

The clients are well satisfied, with an outstanding house that is attractive, liveable, fits into the landscape and offers superb views year round. Watching the sunrise over the distant hills is an awesome, exciting experience that reminds one of the vastness of our world.

Balance Architecture + Interior Design continue to delight their clients with architectural designs such as this; their expertise and attention to detail create truly splendid homes.