Old is the new new in the world of commercial real estate, with non-residential properties featuring heavily in the finalists of a heritage building redevelopment competition.
Part of the 2018 Property Council of Australia/Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards, the competition has seven finalists, three of which are from Sydney, followed by two from Brisbane and one each from Adelaide and Perth.
Matthew Harris, managing director of Rider Levett Bucknall, told Commercial Real Estate the key challenge with heritage redevelopments was balancing the competing priorities of retaining character while upgrading the structure for modern needs.
“The best heritage redevelopments celebrate the character of the original building, while recognising that the demands on buildings today are very different to those in the time they were built,” he said.
“Today, we expect buildings with high indoor environment quality – light, fresh air and views of the outdoors, for example. We also expect buildings to be energy and water efficient.”
While the award winners will be announced on May 11, here’s a sneak peek at the finalists.
Pyrmont Fire Station – NSW
Built in 1906, Pyrmont Fire Station at 145 Pyrmont Street was designed by NSW government architect Walter Liberty Vernon – one of more than 50 of his projects between 1890 and 1911.
The Federation Free-style building was originally built to tackle the growing fire danger, as industrial developments in Pyrmont and Ultimo were at their peak in the early 20th century.
The refurbishment and extension, by Group GSA, refreshed the derelict upper floors, which were occupied by squatters for more than 40 years, and provided a new space for Fire and Rescue NSW’s new head office.
The Old Clare Hotel – NSW
The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney’s Chippendale was a popular drinking hole for locals for decades and had remained vacant for many years before its developers Unlisted Collection purchased the site.
Built by Icon Co, the hotel has 62 rooms, three restaurants and rooftop swimming pool and bar. The project took $25 million and 20 months to construct.
A glass atrium stitches together the Carlton United Brewery Administration Building and the County Clare Hotel, built in 1910 and 1941 respectively. By enclosing the former laneway, it created a central point out of the “laneway foyer”.
Tramsheds Sydney – NSW
Opened in 1904, the former Rozelle Tram Depot is one of the few remaining remnants of the old Sydney tram network.
After the depot closed in 1958, it fell to desolation for decades, attracting graffiti artists, photographers and vandals until ASX-listed developer Mirvac bought the site in 2010.
The heritage-listed site has since been transformed into a food hall housing 12 restaurants and multiple amenities. One of the six original trams owned by the local government still sits within the venue, showcasing the history of the depot.
Mater Hospital Whitty Building – QLD
Established in 1911, the Whitty Building in South Brisbane, which operated as the Mater Public Hospital until 1981, was the second public hospital to open in Queensland.
Originally designed by architect Robin Dods, who specialised in hospital design, the restoration project by Turner and Townsend, retained its original pressed metal ceilings and stained glass windows.
The Federation Free-style building has become a modern learning centre for Mater and The University of Queensland’s medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health services students.
The Residences, Yungaba – QLD
Yungaba House, which dates back to 1885, was first established as an immigration centre, and has since morphed into many uses, including an army refuge, workers’ accommodation, war-time hospital and design studio.
Frasers Property bought the Kangaroo Point site in 2003 and spent more than a decade transforming it into 10 luxury apartments.
The building of Italianate style faces the Brisbane River and 3000 square metres of heritage-listed gardens.
Former Johnstone Brothers Factory – TAS
Sitting along the Hobart Rivulet, the former Johnstone Brothers Factory in Hobart was originally built in 1899 as a woollen mill. The original name of the factory is still clearly etched on the brick facade.
It was then used as an automotive bodywork shop, before becoming a can factory in the 1960s, servicing Australian jam manufacturer IXL.
After its redevelopment by owners Nekon Pty Ltd in 2016, the building has been converted into a multi-use complex, including retail, offices and childcare.
The Goods Shed at Claremont on the Park – WA
The formerly dilapidated railway building at Claremont Station in Perth was given a new lease of life as a community cultural centre in 2016.
Built in 1887, the shed was originally used as a small freight centre for goods being transported on the Perth to Fremantle rail line.
It was reactivated by WA developers Landcorp and non-profit group Form and now holds art exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies and cultural events.