Late last year media reports surfaced of a unique office project to be built at 48 Easey Street, Collingwood after receiving Yarra City Council approval. Christened End To End, the five level office complex would be crowned with three Hitachi motor carriages in a design drawing inspiration from Melbourne's train graffiti culture. The result of an ITN Architects brainstorming session, the design is in stark contrast to the immediate areas heritage-rich surrounds, yet has been recognised as a novel method of preserving a slice of Melbourne's transport heritage.
Another in the architect's series of projects that sit outside the comfort zone, End To End will consist of six separate office spaces, two fetching prices around the $1.5 million dollar mark while the project website shows two remaining spaces left for sale. ITN Architects' Zvi Belling at the time suggested that some of the available space within the carriages may be dedicated toward and art gallery or public bar, hopefully allowing the wider community the chance to experience this distinctive piece of architecture.
And so finally many months later and with the precision of a military operation the weekend passed saw the lift of the three Hitachi's into place atop End To End. The massive engineering exercise involved crews and specialised equipment from Membrey's Transport, Skylift Cranes and Metcalf Cranes, the latter employing their Terex Demag AC 350 (350T lift capacity) for the major lifting. Under the auspices of head contractor Kalitek Construction the lead carriage or 'Platform 1' was placed atop the structure late Saturday afternoon to the amazement of the sizeable crowd present.
ITN Architects Facebook page now carries a variety of images of the lift.
With all bogeys fixed in place at roof level prior to the lift, Sunday saw the two remaining carriages craned into position although strong winds delayed the installation of the last carriage for some time. Each carriage weighs approximately 30 tonnes minus bogeys (according to those onsite) and with millimetres to play with as the carriages were lowered into position, full marks to all involved that this complex feat of engineering went precisely as planned.
Also full marks to the architect for conceiving such a design and not shirking the issue at any stage of the development. Involved buildings such as End To End would inherently carry higher costs through design and construction, particularly considering the loading the concrete structure must now carry for the life of the development. That the more difficult and expensive option was pursued is a massive thumbs up! Something the average passerby mightn't consider; but at least they have something interesting, distinctive and engaging to view as they walk on by Easey Street.
A variety of site images taken during yesterday's lift can be seen below.