Renovating, altering and extending hold the romantic allure of combining existing, sometimes historic parts of a building into a new iteration. However, compared to a fresh start, working with old masonry, plumbing and roofing is often fraught with frustrations, both foreseeable and not.
The Gateway Building claims its place on Tin Alley, a historic circulation path between Trinity College and University of Melbourne. Where formerly a perimeter security fence provided a harsh boundary between the two institutions, now this modern brick and glass building provides an inviting and accessible gateway. And given the building is the venue for Trinity College’s Foundation Studies program, which provides international students with an academic pathway to the university, its location, form and openness is fitting.
So, presented with a brief for refurbishing an existing single storey office building for an international retail tenant on Wandoo Street, just off James Street, architecture practice Richards and Spence had their work cut out for them.
Balfour Park uses a rich weave of brick, stone and concrete. Brick is used as a decorative medium in a series of colours and patterns, inspired by the adjacent brewery buildings, workers terraces and old factory buildings that form the park’s historic backdrop.
Concrete elements complement the textured brick surfaces, echoing the modern insertions throughout the neighbourhood and bringing a contemporary feel to the park.