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. 

Queen Victoria Market Back on The Heritage Agenda

The City of Melbourne has determined that it will again attempt to re-develop the historic and heritage listed Queen Victoria Market precinct. Previously Heritage Victoria blocked the re-development of the original market sheds. The battle to save the market and its character was long and hard fought. You can refresh your memories of the event here 

It would appear that the vision of former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is again being revisited. The aim of the then proposed development seemed to be to modernise the “food court” to resemble something more akin to the upmarket food halls found in department store environments. This perspective is completely at odds with what “old city” markets represent worldwide. The Queen Victoria Market is listed not only as a State Heritage Site but as a National Heritage Listing.

For more on the current situation please refer to this article from The Age by Chloe Booker and Jackson Graham: 

Fears $40m plan for Queen Vic Market will turn it into shopping centre

By Chloe Booker and Jackson Graham

April 8, 2021 — 2.00pm

A plan by the City of Melbourne to add two sheds to Queen Victoria Market at a cost of almost $40 million has renewed fears that the site will be turned into something resembling a shopping centre.

On Tuesday, the council will decide whether to invest $35 million to build a “trader shed” and “northern shed” on Queen Street, which would include logistics, storage, waste and recycling facilities, customer toilets and trader bathrooms and meeting areas.

A further $4.5 million would be spent on a refurbishment of the market’s food court.

The response from market traders to the plan was mixed, with some suggesting it would reduce the landmark heritage site to “a little boutique market”.

Lord mayor Sally Capp said the project would employ about 400 workers, in addition to 500 already building the Munro development and restoring the market’s heritage sheds, and help attract more shoppers.

The Munro development includes a community hub, apartments, retail and a carpark.

“These stages of the market renewal program will deliver 900 jobs for our city at a time when we need them most,” Ms Capp said.

“Businesses throughout the City of Melbourne have been hit hard by COVID-19 and major projects such as the Queen Victoria Market renewal are critical to create local jobs and support our economic recovery.”

However, the secretary of the Friends of Queen Victoria Market, Miriam Faine, said the plans went against the recommendations of the people’s panel, which was appointed to give the community a greater voice in the market’s redevelopment.

“We don’t think they are upgrades at all; we think they are continuations of the [former lord mayor Robert] Doyle plan,” she said.

“We think they will make life impossible for traders in every way.”

Ms Faine said the group believed traders would be forced to store goods and perishables in the sheds and that they were being built to accommodate franchises moving into the market.

She said the northern shed would cut off traffic access from Queen Street, which would mean traders would have to load and unload produce at designated times.

“These are designed to turn the market into a shopping centre and into an entertainment precinct,” she said.

Rosa Ansaldo, a fruiterer of 34 years, said there would not be enough new storage and traders would face challenges moving stock without forklifts in the market.

“[The council has] an agenda to get all of us out of here and only have a little boutique market,” she said.

“I want to see an upgrade that works for all of us.”

Queen Victoria Market fruiter Rosa Ansaldo is concerned long-term stall holders are being pushed out. 

Ms Ansaldo felt the council and market management had not listened to her over the past six years.

“Our livelihoods are all at stake; family businesses will go to the wall,” she said.

However, Leo Moda, an owner at Egg stall Eggsperts, said he supported the redevelopment, believing the new look would be cleaner and draw customers back.

“At the moment it doesn’t look nice when people walk through and see dirty rags,” Mr Moda, who has operated his stall for six years, said.

“Traders are mostly for it. The traders who have been here 20-plus years, they are against it, they don’t want to see change.”

Fruiterer of two decades Nash Bideci was indifferent to the plans but feared the ongoing impact if customers stayed away due to noise and dust.

In the past three months, after coronavirus rent-relief was withdrawn, Mr Bideci said his business had suffered a 40 per cent decline while nearby shed restoration works occurred.

“It might look good in the future, but at the moment we are paying full rent and it’s affecting us,” he said. 

The market’s chief executive, Stan Liacos, welcomed the development and rejected the claim it was part of a plan to turn the market into a shopping centre.

“It is imperative that to safely operate a business of our scale we need better infrastructure, storage and safer operations,” he said.

“These two projects will take us into the next century, because the facilities that we have are probably Dickensian and virtually have not seen investment since the 1800s.”

Mr Liacos said the investment would form part of the market’s recovery after a drop of about 80 per cent of its revenue because of COVID-19. This included millions spent on rent relief for traders, a reduction in car park fees and the loss of its night markets. The night markets returned in a reduced form on Wednesday and will be at full capacity in June.

Cr Capp said traders wanted an upgrade to the food court, built in the mid-1990s, as the current one limited the potential to expand their businesses.

She said the upgrade would also include an improved dining area with more seating, a cooking demonstration area, greenery and a new floor and roof

The plan would invest $4.5 million in refurbishing the market’s food court.

“The trader shed and northern shed will deliver important safety, efficiency and sustainability improvements,” she said.

Heritage permits for the two sheds were approved by Heritage Victoria in December. Construction is expected to start in early 2022, subject to approvals.

Friends of Queen Victoria Market has long been concerned about the council introducing fixed storage and refrigeration for fresh produce traders, and loading docks.

The group believes vegetable traders are being driven out of business so they can be replaced with stalls selling wine and takeaway food.

The battle over the redevelopment of Queen Victoria Market – the site of one of the most colourful and contested parcels of land in Melbourne – has been running for years.

The Queen Victoria market is the last remaining in Melbourne’s CBD. Gone are the Eastern and Western Markets, the Fish Market in Flinders Street, the Meat Market in North Melbourne. Markets such as the Queen Victoria are places of the people where shoppers come for fresh produce, the atmosphere and the open air. Generations of migrants have made the Queen Victoria their shopping destination and this is reflected in the huge variety of fresh vegetables, meat, fish, dairy and specialty products available. It is eclectic with a charming hustle and bustle. A sterile. modern foodhall just won’t be the same. It might be nice for council’s new residents located in the Munro Street development – but for the rest of Melburnians it’s pretty simply a disappointment.

The market represents one of the largest areas of relatively open space available in inner Melbourne and it is no doubt coveted by developers seeking new potential sites. Considering council paid $74M for the Munro Street site just imagine what the entire Queen Victoria market site is now valued at. 

Over the coming years, no doubt, further attempts will be made to water down the heritage listings that protect the market and its precinct. The first step in ensuring the protection of this wonderful location, its history, its unique architecture and fabulous eclectic atmosphere is to ensure its heritage value and listing are fully and totally protected. 

Heritage – it’s worth protecting the pathway from our past to ensure a rich rewarding and fulfilling future for our children. 

Heritage – It Matters. Preserve It. 

Heritage Homes in Rural Victoria. Renovate, Restore and Refurbish With Balance Architecture

The last twelve months in Victoria has seen a rapid uptake on sales of older properties in regional and rural Victoria, with many being covered by Heritage Overlays or unique Heritage Listings. For a number of purchasers this provides a conundrum; on the one hand how to preserve and enhance heritage characteristics, features and the overall heritage quality of their new home, and on the other hand how to modernise plumbing, electricals and internal space to adjust to modern standards and demands. 

Balance Architecture can provide the right solutions with a careful melding of both the past and the present within the boundaries of the heritage protection afforded such properties. One of the first priorities should be to do a property architectural inspection of the building/s to identify what needs to be done and what can be done.  

Older buildings from the 19th and early 20th century have often been rudely modified by church organisations, government bodies and individuals. Smaller properties have seen odd renovations during the 1950s and 1960s (Spanish arches, removal of ceiling mouldings, removal of pillars, stainglass, feature tiling, ironwork – and the list goes on). Where once there was space there are now dividing walls, false ceilings and bricked up fire places, again the list goes on. 

There are choices to be made. If the building is sound can a full restoration to the original design be undertaken? Can an extension be added? Can there be demolition of unwanted add-ons such as laundries, workshops and other oddities? 

Can the original tilings, mouldings, light fittings, architraves, fire places etc. be sourced, obtained and refitted? Is it possible to rebuild and re-create the original space and ambiance? 

An experienced Heritage Architect can often find the right solutions that will not only add value to your property but will enhance the liveability of your new home with space, light and warmth. 

Whether you select a rural farmhouse on acreage, a Victorian terrace in a provincial city or a grand mansion built in bygone days Balance Architecture offers vision, creativity and competence in all elements of planning, building and construction. Heritage buildings were constructed to last a millenium not just fifty years. Often it took great wealth to facilitate their construction.

The foundations are there in place. It’s time to enhance your property and enjoy its features and beauty whilst being confident of today’s building standards and requirements – climate control, solar systems, water reticulation, functional, beautiful bathrooms and superb bedrooms, living rooms and entertaining areas. 

Call Balance Architecture now on 0418 341 443 and speak with Principal Architect Andrew Fedorowicz to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your convenience. Alternatively you can leave your details here for a prompt reply. 

Refresh, Refurbish and Renew with Balance Architecture.

Balance Architecture recognises the importance of historical architecture, specialising in the renovation and restoration of heritage buildings.

Heritage Protection in Victoria. How Does It Actually Work?

For many people heritage protection of both buildings, precincts and open space is somewhat confusing. In real terms the cultural basis of our living city Melbourne and regional cities, our rural areas, our history is integrally bound up in our treasured heritage buildings and precincts. For Indigenous people, our First Nation’s people, heritage values are of vital importance in terms of their connection to country, their history, their culture and their beliefs.  

Heritage values are imperative in our understanding of our current circumstances and urban development, and the influence the past has had in formulating those values. Last week one of our readers commented that heritage is not just about the grandeur of older buildings, the mansions and estates, the public buildings such as town halls, the railway stations and other old world edifices, such as mechanics institutes, masonic halls, churches and the like. Her view was that heritage has a much broader impact and foundation and she’s quite correct. For instance, many inner city suburbs – Carlton, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, Albert Park and Clifton Hill –  for example, have complete suburb wide heritage overlays that protect large swathes of early residential housing, streetscapes, parks and public buildings as well as historical places of interest. Today it is the responsibility of the Heritage Council of Victoria, established in 1995, to maintain the Victorian heritage database. It is overseen and advised by Heritage Victoria, a division of the Victorian government planning department, as to what places and objects deserve protection and conservation in having State level heritage. This authority was formalised by the Heritage Act of 2017 in the Victorian State Parliament. The area that is somewhat less clear and not as effectively protected is what is described as “local level heritage”.

From the Heritage Victoria website:

“Local-level heritage – The protection of places of local heritage significance is the responsibility of Victoria’s 79 local councils (councils). The Planning and Environment Act 1987obliges all of Victoria’s councils to use their Planning Schemes to conserve and enhance buildings, areas or other places which are of significance within their municipalities. Planning Schemes set out objectives, policies and controls for the use, development and protection of land within a municipality. Councils are responsible for ensuring their Planning Schemes protect places with local heritage significance through a Heritage Overlay. To introduce a Heritage Overlay for a place or precinct, a Planning Scheme Amendment is prepared by council with the final decision made by the Minister for Planning. There are about 23,000 heritage places listed in Heritage Overlays in local government planning schemes. These places can include buildings, structures, farmhouses, gardens, mining and industrial sites, residential precincts and historic town centres, as well as many other types of heritage places of importance to local communities. Altogether, upwards of 180,000 properties in Victoria are included in heritage overlays. Tens of thousands of these properties include Victorian, Edwardian and other early twentieth century buildings, many in heritage precincts. There are about 23,000 heritage places listed in Heritage Overlays in local government planning schemes. Councils are responsible for conducting heritage studies, investigating the merits of listing places in their Heritage Overlays and consulting with their communities. If a Heritage Overlay does not apply to a place or precinct, and a council considers that it is worthy of protection, it is able to request the Minister for Planning to apply an Interim Heritage Overlay. This introduces a temporary heritage overlay to a place while it is being assessed by council for local heritage significance. A request for an Interim Heritage Overlay may be prompted by a demolition request or planning application for redevelopment received by a council. Councils have a safety-net under the Building Act 1993to prevent demolition of important buildings that have, for whatever reason, not yet been provided with protection until an assessment is made of their potential importance. The Building Act requires a report and consent of council for a building permit for the major demolition of a building on land within its municipality. This provides the council with an opportunity to advise of the need for a planning permit or an opportunity to seek an Interim Heritage Overlay if one is considered warranted.”

Original facade of building above and changes made subsequently below illustrate how the original architectural style can be lost.

To reiterate there are three levels of heritage protection activity in the State of Victoria. The majority of heritage buildings, architecture and places in Victoria fall under the protection of the State’s 79 local councils.  In our opinion the protection offered in many cases is manifestly ineffective and, as such, is open to manipulation by unscrupulous builders and developers.It is plainly evident that some local government authorities value increased income through strata title property rates collection over properly enforced heritage protection; with many heritage overlays being hopelessly outdated and inadequate. For heritage protection to work the requirement for there needs to be a clear understanding of which body is expected to provide and enforce such protection. Where the responsibility is that of local government authorities they have often failed. In recent times there has been a plethora of unnecessary demolitions and outright destruction of heritage buildings and streetscapes. This has simply confirmed the inadequacy of current legislation.  Melbourne has grown and expanded substantially since 1995 and in many cases local government has simply not kept pace with registering precincts or buildings for heritage protection

Balance Architecture offer a full Heritage Consultation service for both Heritage property owners and Community groups with significant interest in local heritage.  Principal Architect Andrew Fedorowicz is available to meet and confer with interested parties, develop site reports and provide expert appraisal on all Heritage properties, precincts or projects affecting Heritage overlays.

Call now on 0418341443 to speak directly with Andrew or leave your details here for a prompt response.

Balance Architecture recognises the importance of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the restoration and renovation of Heritage buildings and property,

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.

Is your property within a Heritage Overlay? It may qualify for a ‘Heritage Loan’.

For many people living in designated ‘Heritage Overlay’ areas or in a Heritage listed building, the cost of restoration can be somewhat daunting. However it can be entirely less problematic if your property and its buildings qualify for a nil-interest or low interest Heritage Loan.

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The criteria for eligibility is restoration, not maintenance. Essentially your proposed works must be restorative, and your property publicly visible in most cases. You will need to prove that the works are of a restorative nature through building plans, photographs and drawings. It goes without saying that the services of a specialist Heritage Architect would be recommended and ultimately most advantageous.

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There are restrictions and it is wise to be well aware of what these are before commencing your application. Each council area has slightly different criteria. Balance Architecture’s Principal Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz (FAIA), has a thorough working knowledge of such requirements and is happy to assist you (His contact details appear at the end of this article.)

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Currently, the Ballarat City Council, the Bendigo City Council, the Shire of Hepburn, the Geelong City Council, the Melbourne City Council and the City of Yarra all offer such low interest loans. The Borough of Queenscliffe also offers a comprehensive package but it is also far more demanding in terms of detail and competitive quoting on proposed restorative works.

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If you are interested and would like to know more, here are the links for each location. The Victorian Heritage Restoration site provides information for property owners and residents in the City of Melbourne, the City of Yarra and also Ballarat.

To give some examples of what may be funded in different areas, in Bendigo the re-installment of Verandahs, the restoration of shop-front joinery and front fences from historic photographs, repainting and repairs to timber windows and to chimneys have all been funded.

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In both the City of Melbourne and the City of Yarra, painting is not funded and if the building is not visible to the public, funding is restricted.

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In the Borough of Queenscliffe the projects approved are entirely at the discretion of the Council’s Planning Department.

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The City of Adelaide offers similar funding but it requires documentation and plans of a completely professional standard.

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The simplest solution is to engage a Heritage Architect with a proven track record in preparing such documentation and in supervising such restorations. Andrew Fedorowicz, our Principal Architect has over 25 years experience in Heritage Architecture. Whether it’s a restoration of Ironwork or Verandahs, ornate Victorian tiling, roofing, chimneys or decorative external mouldings, it’s worth making an enquiry – even to restore that original fence.

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Then again if it’s a full restoration of a Victorian Terrace, a Queen Anne or Georgian style home, or simply a Californian Bungalow, discover what is possible. Restoration of commercial premises – shops, warehouses and older shopping centre façades and verandahs? Call now on 0418 534 792 for a free no-obligation consultation on both your potential renovation and the possibility of a low interest loan to achieve it. You can leave your details here for a prompt reply. The funding is available if applicants follow due process. Let Balance Architecture restore your Heritage property to its former grandeur.

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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.

Update on the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery and its Full Restoration

The Ballarat City Council have now placed signage at the site of the proposed redevelopment of the Botanical Gardens Fernery scheduled to be completed in 2019. Balance Architecture is proud to be involved in this wonderful restoration program with Principal Andrew Fedorowicz FAIA designing the Fernery’s structure and supervising its construction.

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The Fernery in its time was considered one of the gothic highlights of Victorian and Edwardian Ballarat. The planned reconstruction will in fact be a replica of this ornate 1887 fernery.

To refresh your memories, here is a reprint of our July 2nd blog on the project.

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A welcome return: the original fernery in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and (inset) the recreated version by Balance Architects which is expected to be completed by 2019, pending Heritage Victoria approval

The building, designed by Balance Architecture, is a copy of the original Gothic entrance, which was completed in 1898. The firm referred to original photographs and plans of the filigreed ‘batten fernery’ to recreate what the wooden structure looked like. The plan is being considered by Heritage Victoria.

It is not clear when the original fernery was demolished, but postcards of the period show a finely-detailed peaked structure surrounded by the Stoddart statues.

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Architect Andrew Fedorowicz says working on a unique building such as the fernery is a joy as much as it is a challenge.

“It’s a big building, 11 metres to the pinnacle”
Andrew Fedorowicz, Balance Architects

“What looks like something straightforward in one picture becomes a more complex corner detail in the next,” he says. “It’s a big building, 11 metres to the pinnacle.”

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Mr Fedorowicz used photographs as they came to light to gradually reconstruct the many angles of the wooden fern house. The transparent roof of the fernery is composed of strips of timber which gave the building the name Batten Fernery.

“It’s important that those battens go back, to give it that transparency. There will be gaps between each 90mm board for that reason.”

The current fernery, labelled as being in ‘a disgraceful state’ by support group Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens (FBBG), has been assessed as having engineering problems that may ‘compromise the structure’s integrity and safety’ if continued deterioration is allowed.

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The City of Ballarat has issued a statement saying the projected reconstruction is ‘shovel ready’ and makes a commitment of $1.4 million to the first stage, with another $200,000 coming from the FBBG and a planned further $200,000 grant from the Living Heritage Grants program .

Elizabeth Gilfillan of the FBBG says while the group hasn’t seen the final plans for the building, it’s an exciting development after years of lobbying. The group has spent over 20 years raising funds for the project.

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“We proposed the reconstruction of this building 10 years ago,” said Ms Gilfillan. “The buildings that currently house the fernery were originally temporary and were built in the 1950s.”

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Heritage Architecture requires a refined and practiced consideration. Rather than just developing heritage ‘reports’, it requires an architect with the ability to transfer today’s methodologies and materials in refurbishing the buildings or structures of yesteryear without losing either the integrity, antiquity or charm of a property and its buildings. Most importantly, the finished refurbishment or renovation must maintain the authenticity of the original building and construction. To do so requires the services of a Heritage Architect – an architect knowledgable and skilled in their understanding of heritage values, styles, and the building and construction methods of the times, those periods when the properties were in fact built and constructed.

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Andrew Fedorowicz is such an Architect with real experience in Heritage projects.

For many people purchasing, managing or refurbishing a Heritage listed or Heritage style property is a conundrum. Yes the building is simply beautiful, it resonates with reflections of glorious bygone days, it is quite likely a very valuable asset, but the big question is what can be done, what can be achieved and what restriction does a heritage listing and overlay impose on the building’s owners and their contractors.

Buildings constructed over a century ago were built using quite different methods and engaging very different practices seen as acceptable in today’s building regulations. For instance many Victorian Terraces are built on floating bluestone lintel foundations, which after a hundred years often cause internal cracking in solid plaster walls and contribute to issues such as rising damp.

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Rooms were part of the structural support of the entire building. Internal walls in many cases cannot be removed without affecting the structural integrity of the building as a whole. Roofing, drainage and electricals can be major issues. In many cases, large mansions were built as stand alone buildings surrounded by acres of gardens. When the property was subdivided, the ornamental lake filled in and original run-offs curtailed, simply plumbing the excess into stormwater drainage often was fraught with unforeseen problems that were not acknowledged by those making such modifications. Often the buildings by then were neglected and had fallen into disrepair. Many of these stop-gap measures were never rectified.

Many Heritage listed buildings are bound by major restrictions on modifications, particularly of the street façade. Add to this the requirements of maintaining heritage colour schemes for painting, ornamental masonry, ironwork and internal fittings and there is obviously a strong requirement for expert advice.

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A modern lifestyle with spacious living is entirely possible. But it is imperative that proper planning and presentation is available – for statutory authorities (Planning, City Councils), the National Trust and the heritage Council of Victoria. For this you require an experienced and competent Heritage Architect. Principal Architect for Balance Architecture, Andrew Fedorowicz is such an Architect with real experience and genuine expertise.

Should you require a consultation for your property, for its refined development or restoration please do not hesitate to call Andrew on 0418 341 443 or if you prefer, leave your contact details here and we will ensure a timely response to your enquiry.

As the Ballarat project progresses we will provide you with visual updates and interviews.

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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 and Restoration – How it can be done

This week we feature a more positive review. We start to look at some of the more interesting restorations and Heritage renovations in and around Melbourne and we take a quick peek at one of the hidden remnants of Old Melbourne’s past – smack in the middle of Port Phillip Bay.

Metropolitan Meat Market

In recent years a number of relatively non-descript older buildings in Melbourne have been restored and featured as modern venues, suitable for events, dinners and other similar purposes.

The first such venue is the old Melbourne Meat Market. Originally built by the ‘Victorian Meat Market Company’ in 1870 it defined the new boom times in its grand edifices and halls.

Melbourne Architect George R Johnson prepared sketches suitable for the changing face of the trade. It was commissioned for construction by Mr William Reginalds, coincidentally the Mayor of Hotham (North Melbourne, a successful and notable figure in the meat trade of the times).

The building was used continually as a Meat Market up until 1974 when it was acknowledged that the grand building no longer served its purpose of servicing the meat and butchery trade. With no space for extra and required refrigeration, the stall holders began to move on to more purpose built premises.

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Arts Victoria purchased the building in 1979. In 1985 the building was renamed ‘Meat Market Craft Centre’. This changed in 1998 when the venue was again renamed. It now became the ‘Metro Craft Centre’. At the time it began to be used a a Performing Arts Venue.

The building was substantially renovated in 2002-03. At the time it was over a century old. After the renovation it was for the main part managed by the City of Melbourne. The Council’s ‘Art House’ brand managed the venue. The buildings were presented as creative development and presentation space.

As of 2015 the Meat Market became a venue in its own rite. Over 30 art businesses operate from the venue to this day.

As a venue for a variety of event style functions the Meat Market can seat 600 people for a formal dinner. Dine in a first grade heritage listed building restored and fully maintained to feature its 19th Century grandeur. The cobblestone floor and barrel vault ceiling leave you with a sense that the next sound you may hear is the clip-clop of horses hooves and carts – pass the shiraz please.

It is a perfect illustration of how to retain heritage buildings that have been degraded over time.

Given what has happened recently, this iconic building could easily have ended up another pile of ‘Corkman’ style rubble without sensible intervention – from the City of Melbourne and originally Arts Victoria. It demonstrates that in many cases, it is imperative that Government intervenes.

The second venue is less spectacular externally but demonstrates a clever use of a large unused space in an intelligent creative manner. Located at 135-157 Racecourse Rd Kensington just prior to the on ramp to Citylink heading west its an unobtrusive brick building constructed post World War II in 1945-46. It was an armaments factory owned by Barge Bros. The building was designed by C.T. Gilbertson. It has been a spring factory, a foundry and then housed the complete wardrobe and props for the ‘Pharlap’ movie filmed nearby at Flemington Racecourse.

This is a unique building. Outside is rectilinear, Art Deco reminiscent of the Dutch Modernist William Dudok. However inside the factory features an immense curved roof with arches spanning 30 meters. The arches are glue-laminated Coachwood, 29 sections creating an open column-free area. This is of significant heritage value from a scientific and architectural viewpoint for Victoria, being the first time such a method was used to create open space..

And the venue now known as the Pavilion takes full advantage of this unique feature, seating 200-600 people for a unique sit-down dining experience in open style.

Finally for this bulletin we take a boat trip to the mouth of Port Phillip Bay. Here we find some of the ‘forgotten’ history of Victoria and its capital Melbourne. Man made islands for fortifications to repel invaders still stand guard. There were two forts. One is known as the Pope’s Eye. It is now protected in a Marine Reserve. It was constructed in the 1880s by Sir William Jervios. The island was formed by dumping bluestone boulders on a submerged sand bar in 12 meters of water.

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It was never completed as naval advances in weaponry meant hostile ships could now be bombarded from the gunneries on Swan Island and on nearby Fort Queenscliff. It’s an interesting location with remnants of gun positions and living quarters still intact. Take a boat out on the weekend and sample the rather eerie feeling of stepping foot into the past directly.

 

It was complimented by a second man-made island – the South Channel Fort. Between 1890 and 1916 over 100 officers and men lived on the island. It was abandoned for the same reason. 14,000 tonnes of bluestone boulders, concrete and sand were used in its construction. There are strong remnants of its military past there with ‘disappearing’ gun mechanisms still in situation.

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There was an underground living area called a ‘keep’ with a labyrinth of passages, small lobbies, magazines and a fully functional kitchen. From this island fortress the mines for the minefield in the South West Channel were stored and tested. Minefield?? Can you believe it?

Both locations were established to ward off ‘the enemy’. In those days Victoria had a navy. And Russia and France were our enemies. Rule Brittania! Oh and we also welcomed the US Confederate Navy at the time.

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US Confederate Navy ship Shenandoah docked in Melbourne in 1865

All of this lends to our colourful historic past. We are fortunate in that many historic homes and buildings, indeed locations, have been preserved for posterity. We feature a number of these today photographically in this blog, and if you choose to, you can read about nearly all of them in previous blogs we have published.

This isn’t the time to back down and permit the destruction of our heritage and history. There are no good reasons to demolish buildings so rich in history, beauty and a timeless sense of being. At Balance we say protect and preserve our past. And if anyone does transgress the law, then let them be forced to restore the damage they cause. No more Corkmans, no more cultural vandalism – heritage is owned by all of us.

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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.

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.

Tuning Into Your Style For Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

How do you define your personal taste when it comes to planning an interior design? If you are considering renovating or redecorating your whole house, bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms or living spaces, or if you have a newly built home, it is important to stamp your own personal style on your interior spaces.

To help define your own personal style, Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, who is incredibly experienced at renovating and redecorating interior spaces, suggests that you list spaces that appeal to you. Source your inspiration from houses you see, individual rooms you visit, shops you like, restaurants that appeal, films that inspire, books on design or photography, magazines on design, modern living or decorating spaces, design blogs and articles as well as fashion trends.

Define why these spaces or places appeal to you, what is evocative or meaningful to you – how did it look, what sounds did you hear, what smells reached you, how did you feel? Take into account the ventilation, light, movement, orientation, shape, space and harmony of the space and how it affected you.

To help you remember and delineate what your personal style is, keep a design file. Store images, fabrics or anything else that reminds you what appeals to you. Another clue to establishing your own personal style is to think about seasonal changes and what appeals to you. Consider colours, temperature, texture, smell. Add these to your design file too.

It is also critical to consider the nature of your location and how it impacts on your decision making process when renovating or building. For example if you live on beach frontage you need to offset the effects of salt water and offshore winds, so your external finishes will be chosen with this in mind as well as landscaping, which would have to be designed to suit to these conditions.  Balance Architecture + Interior Design have a wealth of experience, particularly in renovating heritage homes, so check them out for further inspiration.