Heritage retention works complete at Seafarers

Heritage retention works complete at Seafarers

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Heritage retention works at Docklands’ Goods Shed No.5 are now complete, making way for the development of a luxury suite of resi- dential apartments and a hotel.

Around 1944 bluestone pavers, 20 timber sliding doors, 40 steel trusses and 105 steel window frames – which will be used in the reconstruction of the Goods Shed – were salvaged by engineering firm Freyssinet Australia and Mann Group.

Riverlee development director David Lee said the heritage retention works were an exemplar in both urban renewal and reversible design, a concept that involved taking apart buildings and reusing their compo- nents for a second life.

“The heritage retention works are an excellent example of how we can create a circular economy with our older buildings – eliminating waste and keeping materials in use rather than looking for new alternatives,” he said.

“This process has been far from simple and we commend our engi- neers, historians and design team who have made it possible to preserve elements of this iconic Melbourne building.”

Around two kilometres’ worth of historical timber purlins will be re- purposed through the new building, including in the site’s forthcoming 1 Hotel.

The timber will likely be incorpo- rated as feature stairs, wall cladding, lighting fixtures, furniture and hotel bedheads, according to Riverlee, which owns the site and initiated the works.

Historian Emma Russell from HistoryAtWork was engaged to lead the historical studies on the site to maximise retention of the original story and components of the shed.

She said it was exciting to preserve and repropose Seafarers’ social histo- ry through repurposing the shed.

“It is exciting and inspiring to work with a property development company so genuinely keen to uncov- er the tangible history of their sites and materials, and the social and local history these places have played a role in,” she said.

“Retaining and repurposing the century-old timbers, bluestones and trusses, combined with innovative ways to integrate Seafarers’ social history, ensures the long memory of this fascinating corner of the CBD will be shared with visitors and residents alike in an authentic rather than manufactured manner.”

The next steps will involve further assessment of the retained items to determine origin, species and age before they are woven into the new Seafarers mixed-use waterfront precinct.

The remaining concrete structure of the goods shed building on site will be integrated into the future mixed-use building •

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