Art of the red brick conversion

I hope I'm not alone when I say I find red brick warehouse conversions to be aesthetically the most endearing architecture genre throughout Melbourne. The earthy, subtle nature of the original building (generally a warehouse) supplemented with modern extensions, and architects on occasion given total creative freedom, that more often than not leads to an exceptional urban outcome. Even new buildings which mimic those around them by incorporating a brick podium tend to blend in exceptionally well. Façadism aside, not many buildings can boast such history, character and contrasting architectural styles all in a package that is generally lowrise and unlikely to raise the ire of the most ardent opponent to urban change.

So today's article pays particular attention to those conversions found throughout North and West Melbourne, two suburbs flush with such warehouses, many of which have already found their adaptive reuse. Dotted throughout both suburbs, some are prevalent while many cannot be seen from main thoroughfares, but rather by traversing the area's side and back streets. Having said that my ultimate conversion (and one of my favourite Melbourne buildings for that matter) is the Unique Electrics Building found on Dryburgh Street and Victoria Street, North Melbourne - plain for all to see.

Its design, scale, material and colour composition can't be beaten! Aside from knowing that Urban Spaces Architects at one point held space within the building, the internet has yielded scarce little by way of information so feel free to add comment and appease my curiousity if you have any further information on the Unique Electrics Building.

Further potential conversions are in the pipeline through the area with the most notable being 181-189 Capel Street, North Melbourne. Currently on offer for short term lease, feasibility and development concepts have been put forward by a number of firms, on of which is Genton Architects. Their website project statement reads as follows;

"A site investigation and yield study was conducted to review the potential yield of a former industrial site on Melbourne’s CBD fringe. The project proposed to restore the existing brickwork façade into a retail podium on corner with high visibility. A new service lane provides access for the anchor tenant. A series of lower scale residential apartments were situated above with city views."

Here's hoping something akin to the above design above is realised. Regardless see below a compilation of images from North and West Melbourne, by no means an absolute pictorial list but nonetheless a snapshot of the quality architecture that lies sometimes where least expected. In times to come will look at conversions through other Melbourne locales.


O'Connell Street, North Melbourne
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Development & Planning

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 12:00
The 96 is the third busiest tram corridor in Melbourne with the most recent data published by Yarra Trams having the route clock up 15.4million annual trips. Much of this patronage is likely due to the route being the fastest route to St Kilda from the CBD at the southern...

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 14:30
On Monday 24th of October, the iCities: World Class CBDs series conference kicks off. First held in Kuala Lumpur, this year's conference is to be held at the Langham Hotel on Southbank. iCities is owned and operated by iProperty Group, a network property under the REA Group umbrella brand. Over...


Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”. Perhaps the most striking example of this juxtaposition between old and new is the Coops Shot...

Transport & Design

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 07:00
108 Leicester Street is a collection of eight multi-level Fitzroy townhouses that have been designed to respond to the changing face of multi-residential living in Melbourne. The hybrid inner-city dwellings combine developer/builder FOURSQ with Melbourne firm BKK Architects. The design acknowledges the housing typologies of the development's Fitzroy neighbourhood with...

Sustainability & Environment

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 00:00
The proposed new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) on Sturt Street is shaping to become much more than a cutting edge venue. While the project has been given coverage to date across a range of mediums, very little has been said regarding the project playing an integral part in the...