We are proud to announce that the Maryborough Railway Station conservation project has been recognised internationally, earning an award of merit at the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation!
Established in 2000, the Awards recognise excellent achievement in the conservation or restoration of heritage buildings and properties in the region, and set technical and social benchmarks for cultural heritage conservation. This year’s awards programme attracted 47 entries from 16 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, spanning from the Cook Islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean to the Islamic republic of Iran at the far end of West Asia.
The judging panel of international conservation experts, made the following comments:
The conservation of Maryborough Railway Station has breathed new life to a fine and rare example of a Victorian-era station built in the Anglo-Dutch style. The distinctive red brick-building had suffered from long-term neglect and earlier inappropriate repair works that masked its cultural value and detracted from its operational function. Through meticulous research and conservation interventions, the character and values of the place have been retained and the continuing function of the station has been enhanced. Undertaken as part of a broader urban revitalization scheme, the project has also uplifted the local community. Vic Track’s decision to conserve the station is exemplary as a model to encourage further conservation of Australia’s railway and industrial heritage.
Earlier this year, the Maryborough Railway Station project was also awarded the 2013 Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Victoria Award for Heritage Architecture, and was a finalist in the 2013 Dulux Colour Awards.
Above: Director of RBA Architects, Roger Beeston, received the award at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok earlier this month. From left to right: Mr Tim Curtis (Chief of Culture, UNESCO Bangkok), Senator Trungjai Buranasomphob (Committee on Religions, Moral, Ethics, Arts and Culture), Roger Beeston, HE Mr James Wise (Australian Ambassador to Thailand), and Dr Phra Wisutthiphattharathada (Vice-Rector for Administration, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University)
In 1899, Fawcett and Ashworth won the international architectural design competition for a new train station beside Princes Bridge on Flinders Street. This week, 114 years on, the six shortlisted designs in the international design competition to rejuvenate Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street Station were unveiled. The competition, which was launched in November 2011, initially attracted 118 submissions.
RBA worked closely with the shortlisted John Wardle Architects and Grimshaw team as well as Room 11 and SKM. RBA provided heritage design advice and guidance throughout the rigorous competition process with a view to respecting the historical, social and architectural values of the State listed heritage place. Key heritage initiatives included the restoration of long neglected spaces for public use including the ballroom, gymnasium and dome room. The result – the precinct has been reimagined and one of Melbourne’s most loved and historic buildings has been cast in the leading role in a new ‘Transport Theatre’.
Have your say, vote now!!
The public are being given the opportunity to give feedback on the six shortlisted designs through the People’s Choice Award. Voters are able to rate each of the designs in four categories: Overall Design Merit, Transport Function, Cultural Heritage and Iconic Status, Urban Design and Precinct Integration.
Voting closes 5 August 2013, and winners will be announced 8 August.
The 2013 winners of the Victorian Architecture Awards have been announced and we are pleased to share that RBA received a Heritage Architecture Award for our work at Marybourough Railway Station!
This year, fifteen entries were submitted in the Heritage Architecture category which is for a built conservation project or study developed in accordance with the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter, or any adaptive reuse of a heritage structure.
Here is what the jury had to say:
In 1895 the extravagant new station was described by Mark Twain as ‘A railway station with a town attached.’ In 2001, when RBA Architects + Conservation Consultants began work, the station was at risk. The subsequent conservation and adaptation works over the last twelve years to the Maryborough Railway Station are exemplary. Guided by the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter and extensive original documentation, RBA completed a Conservation Management Plan and worked to address dilapidation. Forensic attention to detail and an impressive specialised team has ensured a future for the station which is of State heritage significance. Roofscape restoration included the tower, cupolas, slates, cement orbs and chimneys and required both traditional techniques and innovative modern solutions. The original timber flag pole was repaired by an historic boat expert while the terracotta ridge capping was remade in Tasmania. The skim coat to the facade dressings was meticulously repaired and matched by RBA, without the ‘fools gold’ and oxblood components of the original. Extensive paint scrapes determined colour schemes and encaustic floor tiles were sourced from the UK. Achieving building code compliance required considerable skill and teamwork. The delightful 120 metre platform verandah incorporates a continuous roof lantern. Nevertheless, subtle structural interventions and a reversible lamination process for original panes made the historic structure safe and inviting. Expert conservation has now given the town every reason to become very attached to its railway station.
The 2013 Dulux Colour Awards shortlist has been revealed, and RBA is among the fourteen finalists to have been selected in the category of ‘commercial exterior’. Winners are to be announced in March.
RBA is also an entrant for the AIA Victorian Architecture Award in the Heritage category.
The Maryborough Railway Station Conservation Works is the project entry for both awards. RBA has been involved with the conservation of Maryborough Railway Station for over ten years, and the project previously won the Australian Property Institute heritage award in 2008.
Maryborough Railway Station is one of the most significant railway heritage assets in Australia and the conservation works have recaptured the former grandeur of the station. See below for before and after photographs.
Located in central Victoria, the Maryborough Railway Station is recognised as a place of National and State heritage significance. The current station building was constructed in 1890/91 and replaced the first station at the site, built in 1874. The imposing scale of this building defined the end of an era for Victorian railway expansion, second only to Flinders Street Station in its architectural grandeur.
The building, of Flemish bond brick construction with cement rendered decorative elements in the Anglo-Dutch style, includes a full length (125m) platform verandah lit by a glass clad lantern roof supported by elaborate cast iron columns which act as downpipes.
In 2001, the Maryborough Railway Station Conservation works were initiated to address problems associated with long term maintenance neglect and inappropriate repair works. These problems threatened not only the cultural significance of the place but the resumption of passenger services (suspended between 1993 and 2010) and on-going patronage of its retail tenants. Extensive research and detailed forensic surveys were required to resolve complex modes of building fabric deterioration and develop innovative but sensitive remediation techniques.
A materials scientist, heritage structural engineer and glass and ceramics conservators were pivotal in resolving and implementing these works. A conscious effort was made to minimise the introduction of new building fabric and faithfully reconstruct original details in accordance with the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter 1999 principles of conservation.
The ambition of the project has been to re-establish the building to its former 19th century goldfields opulence and to a position of respected prominence for both Maryborough and the Victorian Railway Network. The works have enabled the on-going use of a valuable asset and provided an opportunity to generate broader public support for further conservation of the Victorian Railway network.See feature on the archi channel website. http://www.archichannel.com/?project=maryborough-railway-station-conservation-works
Above: Maryborough Railway Station prior to conservation works
Above: Maryborough Railway Station after conservation works
(Photograph: Peter Bennett)
Above: Platform prior to conservation works
Above: Platform after conservation works
(Photograph: Peter Bennett)
An RBA project nearing completion is a heritage study review of areas within the City of Melbourne, including North and West Melbourne and South Carlton. The heritage status of over 350 sites has been reviewed, including precincts. Most of the sites had been graded but not all were protected by a heritage overlay. The review was necessary as this part of Melbourne is currently undergoing considerable change which is likely to accelerate change in the future.
The area had not been subject to a comprehensive heritage review since the mid-1980s and since that time some buildings have been dramatically altered while others have been demolished. Also there had been minimal representation of the interwar phase of development in the range of places protected.
Top: Lort Smith Animal Hospital, 24 Villiers Street
Below: Former Store, 104 A’Beckett Street
Demolition of the 1960s Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning building and the adjacent 1930s Commerce building (except the heritage listed façade) at the University of Melbourne has commenced.
In their place will be a new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning. It is to be a large and ambitious new building, the design of which has arisen as a result of an international architecture competition, ultimately awarded to the prestigious local firm, John Wardle Architects, in conjunction with internationally renowned firm, NADAAA of Boston, USA.
RBA has been providing heritage management services to the faculty as they plan for their new building.
The new faculty building will incorporate conserved and adapted elements from the two old buildings that the university community considers most valuable. The most notable of these are the J. Reed façade and the Japanese Room.
The 1850s façade, designed by eminent architect Joseph Reed, formerly graced the Bank of NSW in Collins Street. When the bank wished to expand in the 1930s, the redundant façade was moved to the University of Melbourne where it was incorporated into the design of the Commerce building by Department of Public Works architect Percy Everett.
The 1960s installation of three Asian themed meeting rooms (Japanese, Chinese and Indian) into the first dedicated Architecture Building designed by Professor Brian Lewis (first Chair of Architecture) was in response to the broad international representation within the student and teaching body. The Indian and Chinese Rooms had undergone numerous alterations over the years, but the Japanese Room remained largely intact. The Japanese Room was designed by faculty staff member, Shigeru Yura, based on the domestic Shoin style of the 17th century. Features of the room include the hand painted fusuma (sliding doors), fabric wallpaper, shoji (papered sliding screens), a panelled cedar ceiling and chigaidana (split-level shelving). It was funded mainly by members of the Japan-Australia Business Co-operation Committee in Japan and the materials for the room were imported from Japan. It is probably the most authentic example of a Shoin style interior extant in Australia.
The Japanese Room has been carefully dismantled and the elements are currently in storage. The room will be reassembled in a prominent position on the roof of the new faculty building.
Enabling works have begun on the J. Reed façade as part of the demolition of the old commerce building. The façade will be conserved and reincorporated into the new faculty building as the main entrance to the public exhibition spaces.
Top: Commerce Building on completion, c.1940
(Source: Harold Paynting Collection, State Library of Victoria)
Below: Japanese Room
RBA Director Roger Beeston and Architectural Historian Anthony Hemingway recently travelled to Los Angeles, USA, to deliver a paper at a conference titled ‘The Artifact, Its Context and Their Narrative’ at the Getty Center.
The paper examined a recent joint project between RBA and AusHeritage in relation to the Kamarajar Memorial House in Virudhunagar, southern India. Roger is Deputy Chair of AusHeritage - a network of Australian cultural heritage management organisations, established by the Australian Government in 1996 which aims to facilitate the engagement of practitioners and organisations for the Australian heritage industry in the overseas arena.
The project, approached from an Australian cultural heritage management perspective, involved the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan.
The impetus for the CMP came about after a visit to some Australian Museums by a current member of the Indian parliament, Mr Manickam Tagore. Mr Tagore was interested in how a similar visitor experience might be created in a museum in India.
The Kamarajar Memorial House is the birthplace of K. Kamaraj (1903-1975), a highly revered politician of his generation. Kamaraj spent much of his early life in the house and his family continued to live there until it was purchased by the Tamil Nadu State government soon after his death. However, since this State acquisition, the house has been substantially modified and now poorly reflects Kamaraj’s critical formative years which is the phase of his life most directly connected with it.
The process of preparing the CMP has provided guidance to rationalise the presentation of the house and has recommended a different conservation approach to the constituent fabric of the building and the collection, in combination with an improved and more authentic interpretation based on what has been determined to be the cultural significance of the place.
Kamarajar Memorial House, Virudhunagar, India
RBA was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong to undertake a review of potential heritage sites identified in the Lara area within the Outer Areas Heritage Study prepared in 1998-2000 by Dr David Rowe and Ms Lorraine Huddle of Authentic Heritage Services. Most of the sites identified in the study are not currently subject to specific heritage protection.
Although it has only been 10 years since the study was undertaken, alterations to buildings had occurred and in some cases buildings had been demolished. The purpose of the review was to determine which of the sites were still worthy of individual listing within the heritage overlay. The review will potentially lead to a planning scheme amendment for Council’s consideration.
The sites consist of cottages, houses, churches, memorials, commercial buildings and ruins.
Top: 295 Patullos Road
Below:155 Forest Road South
Footscray Railway Station has been a major nodal metropolitan station since it was opened for passenger traffic on the 24 September 1900. The new station at the junction was an amalgamation of two earlier stations at Footscray, one on the Melbourne to Sunbury portion of the Echuca Railway Line and the other on the Melbourne to Williamstown Railway Line.
The central building (B1) has an unusual V-shape configuration and elaborate detailing at the entry. It is a striking example of a Federation Freestyle design with detailing consistent throughout all the station buildings. It is the precursor of a style also used at Jolimont, West Richmond and Williamstown Beach stations.
During WWII due to petrol rationing and industrial expansion in the area, it was estimated that 33, 000 passengers travelled through the station per day, making it the second busiest in the metropolitan area next to Flinders Street station! These days, Footscray handles more than 11,000 passenger boardings per day, but it is about to become busier.
The Regional Rail Link project, designed to streamline and separate the metropolitan and regional tracks to the west of Melbourne, proposes major works at the State heritage listed station. The works proposed include the construction of two new tracks and platforms, modifications to the existing pedestrian bridge, new forecourt area, changes to existing buildings, and redesign / upgrade of the railway reserve.
RBA is involved with many aspects of the project including producing a Conservation Management Plan, providing design advice, undertaking a paint scrape analysis to determine original colour schemes and developing an interpretation plan.
Footscray Railway Station, c.1910
(Source: Footscray Historical Society)
One hundred years ago, at a time when the automobile was about to replace the horse for police work, an extensive new stables facility, reputedly the best in the southern hemisphere, was constructed for the Victoria Police Mounted Branch. The Mounted Branch, which today consists of 21 horses looked after by 30 police officers, continues to operate from the building – the last vestige of occupation by Victoria Police of the former Police Depot site, now occupied by the Victorian College of the Arts.
The red brick V-shaped building with its distinctive octagonal entrance, on the corner of Dodds and Grant Streets Southbank, was designed to house up to 53 horses, and included a riding school and a drill hall. The drill hall section of the building was converted to the Grant Street Theatre in 1976 by the Victorian College of the Arts.
The building has a surprising history. The first occupants of the building were in fact people, not horses. During WWI, the Police Depot site was taken over by No. 5 Australian General Hospital and in July 1915 the stables building was converted into vast wards providing beds for almost 500 returned soldiers. Following the war, the building was again used to accommodate patients requiring treatment during the devastating worldwide Spanish Influenza outbreak that reached Melbourne late in 1918. Consequently, the Mounted Branch did not occupy their new building until 1920.
A notable feature of the building are the original steel-framed windows. They are amongst the earliest known usage of steel-framed windows in Victoria and have been used for this building on a large scale. They remain mostly intact across the building, though some have been removed, and various frame designs are featured.
RBA have been commissioned to produce a Conservation Management Plan for the Victoria Police Stables Complex which will clarify its heritage significance and provide conservation policies to guide the future management of this unique building.
Mounted Police, with the stables in the background, during the shipping strike of 1929.
(Source: Victoria Police Historical Unit)