3 posts in this thread / 0 new
Last post

Hero Apartments

Peter Maltezos's picture

Main text from Melbourne Architecture

Hero Apartments

(former Russell Street Telephone Exchange and Post Office)

114-120 Russell Street, north-east corner of Russell and Little Collins Streets

1948-54 Commonwealth Dept. of Works

Hammond and Allan (bas-relief sculpture)

1999 Nondas Katsalidis (Hero Apartments conversion)


The first postwar government building of any size completed after 1945, the Russell Street Telephone Exchange and Post Office marks a crucial stylistic shift between pre- and postwar attitudes to the metropolitan public building. Construction took five years, with the result that its interlocking cubic design, projecting glazed panels and cream brick appeared dated when it was finally completed in 1954. Another exchange at 378 Flinders Lane (1952-54) follows a similar compositional palette. Unusually, the Russell Street building combined a postal hall at ground level, the interior design of which echoed 1930s Italian Modernism. A dashing striped floor and outside smart metal grill work, stainless steel telephone booths (since removed), three massive pink granite stylized Doric columns and bas-relief sculpture mounted on the cream brick wall above the footpath were mannered ornamental inclusions beneath large first- and second-floor glazed panels that, in functionalist fashion, revealed the machinery of the exchange within. As the exchange is located on Russell Hill, in 1956 the building gained special status by briefly serving as a relay station for newly arrived television.


In 1999 the building was converted into boutique apartments with retail at ground and basement levels.


How it used to look soon after the original building was completed.


Below, my own shots showing the new boutique apartments conversion.


Love the corten steel used in the new upper levels.

Back to top
Glennwilson's picture

I admit to not being a huge fan of this building, moreso of the original building design...I'd much prefer something like Hero though that at least looks different compared to most of the recent additions of high rise apartment blocks. In particular, I had to go to a block, on the corner of Explorers Lane and Little Lonsdale the other night. Had no idea it was there, even though it is approx 28 floors in height, possibly because it was the most ugly and bland looking building. It has two car lifts in the lane way off to the side. One boarded up due to what it would seem to be that someone drove straight through the doors, that'd be great when coming home from work. Typically, the developer was Mr Brady.

Back to top
MelbourneGuy's picture

I tend to view the work that Brady does as similar to CE, purely utilitarian with little regard for creativity or aesthetics.

Back to top

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.


Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.