Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 28 Autumn 2011 Contents 120 INSITE AUTUMN 2011
hile the city’s gaze has
always been drawn to
the beautiful views of the
Swan River, it seems the
Wellington Street end of the city is on the
verge of getting a much-needed makeover.
With the proposed sinking of the railway
creating pedestrian links to Northbridge and
the Perth Cultural Centre, and the building
of the new multi-purpose Perth Arena, the
future looks very exciting. Revitalised, it
promises to become the heart of the Perth
CBD, connecting the city’s commercial,
retail and entertainment hubs.
So, more by luck, this area retains a
significant proportion of its original built
fabric, and is just the type of precinct to
attract forward-thinking developers, such
as Cbus Property, which is redefining attitudes
to the conservation and adaptive reuse of
heritage buildings by incorporating them
within the framework of modern designs.
As part of its new landmark development,
One40William, Cbus Property is restoring
and adapting the Wellington Buildings,
the Globe Hotel and the Bairds Building
on Wellington Street, plus the first-storey
facade of the classically styled Mitchells
Building on William Street.
The retention of these historic buildings
not only provides a human scale to the office
towers above, but, more importantly, creates
a context that preserves the stories of our
past and enhances our ‘sense of place’.
Architect Alice Steedman, from heritage
consultant firm Lovell Chen, says adaptive
reuse is applied to many buildings now
but the extent to which adaption occurs
varies considerably. For instance, although
the Wellington Buildings were originally
designed as offices, there is still considerable
adaptation required to bring them into line
with current standards.
The Bairds Building, originally a store,
has changed its f unction to office space
and requires the installation of a lift and
air-conditioning. And the Globe Hotel’s
tiny rooms will need to be opened up to
create more usable spaces, but the nibs on
either side of the walls will be kept so the
original rooms can still be interpreted.
According to Alice, the challenges
of this kind of project depend upon the
level of dilapidation and how much of
the original fabric has been removed or
damaged. “Finding suitable replacement
fabric can be a challenge, as well as people
to manufacture the material according to its
original science,” she says.
A less desirable form of adaptive reuse
is the use of the facade of the Mitchell
Building, which was dismantled and stored
during the building of the railway tunnel
beneath the complex some years ago. Alice
says it was taken down on the proviso that
it would be reincorporated into the new
development. But because it is no longer
in its original location and has no building
behind it or underneath it, Alice says its
heritage value has been compromised.
The One40William development is also
the largest building in Perth to achieve a
Five-Star Green Star Office Design rating.
While the associated heritage buildings are
unable to achieve such impressive green
credentials, Alice says, “there is a lot of
‘embedded energy’ in the fabric of heritage
buildings and conserving them contributes
to the reduction of greenhouse gases”. I
Historic buildings add depth to the city centre
Architect Alice Steedman
The Globe’s reconstructed balcony and
(below) modern, sculptural fire escape.
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