Contract - All Aboard: Goods Shed North, Melbourne, by BVN Architecture

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All Aboard: Goods Shed North, Melbourne, by BVN Architecture

15 December, 2011

-By Russell Fortmeyer


When architects talk about the challenges of adaptive reuse and renovation, rarely do they talk about runaway trains. Ninotschka Titchkosky, a principal in the Melbourne, Australia, office of Bligh Voller Nield (BVN) Architecture, found herself facing that subject head-on while planning new interiors for the complete restoration and adaptation of Melbourne’s historic Goods Shed North.
“It’s always a balance when working with these old buildings to enhance the character, while also making them functional for contemporary use,” says Titchkosky, who led the interior design of the project. Originally built as a railway shed in 1889, the structure was damaged by a runaway train within just a few years, and was later abandoned in the 1980s after decades of neglect. BVN’s charge was to convert the shed into open offices for two separate tenants: the Urban Renewal Authority (URA, formerly known as VicUrban) and the Building Commission and Plumbing Industry Commission (BC/PIC). BVN worked for the developer Equiset, with Lovell Chen as heritage architect. Goods Shed’s key historical elements, including clerestory windows, exposed trusses and brickwork, and cast-iron columns, were retained and restored, and the renovation overall is touted as the most sustainable historic building in the state of Victoria, Australia.
In plan, the roughly 110,000-square-foot shed divides into three bays from east to west, with an approximately 40-foot-high central bay crowned by a lantern running the length of the building. The 265 employees of the URA (pictured opposite and below) occupy 70,000 square feet at the south end of the shed, where BVN added a new building that connects the site with the adjacent Collins Street bridge. The 200 employees of BC/PIC occupy two bays within 36,000 square feet at the shed’s north end (pictured on pages 76-79). The remaining north bay was converted to street-facing retail space. In the side bays, BVN increased floor area by creating mezzanines that look onto the central spine, taking advantage of the lack of windows on the warehouse’s long sides.
The shed’s renovation was especially important for the URA, since it is Melbourne’s public agency responsible for city planning and projects such as the Docklands redevelopment, where the shed is located. The BC/PIC also plays a public role, overseeing the development and implementation of building and plumbing codes in the Australian state of Victoria. So, both organizations required not only space for their employees, but also showpiece offices that would provide flexible collaboration spaces to engage developers, contractors, design professionals, and public employees who may be planning new building projects or consulting on code adoption.

The BC/PIC interior
Even with the mezzanines, accommodating BC/PIC’s employees into its space presented challenges. BVN addressed this by developing two typologies of standalone, double-height boxes in the central spine—one framed in black steel and clad in glass and the other a hybrid of sustainably harvested messmate timber and steel bracing with messmate slat cladding. The timber box, or “tree house,” as Titchkosky describes it, contains two floors for meeting rooms. The boxes provide acoustic and visual privacy typically lacking in open plan offices, while the finishes respond to the existing shed’s prominent black steel ceiling truss structure and Baltic pine tongue-and-groove ceiling finishes. The open offices feature white Vitra Joyn and Level 34 office furniture. Other materials and furnishings also take cues from the existing historical conditions of the shed. Artemide’s Nur 1618 pendant, used prominently in the glass meeting room, echoes the industrial look of high-bay lighting fixtures that are typical in warehouses. Chairs in the lounges, meeting rooms, and breakout spaces include traditional bentwood Eames chairs from Herman Miller, as well as oak chairs from Melbourne-based Jardan and specialty furniture from Sydney-based Schamburg + Alvisse. The majority of the floor is a newly polished concrete slab, with strategically placed modular carpets and rugs.

The URA interior
The URA’s offices (pictured on pages 75-76) is divided into active and passive spaces, with mobile furniture by Jardan, Mark Tuckey, Wilkhahn, Stylecraft, and Schiavello in the central spaces that allow for flexibility and collaboration. Furniture includes BVN-designed wooden benches, self-contained Schiavello-designed green walls with potted plants, and the reuse of the shed’s original rolling doors as hanging partitions under a large central stair of heavy timber. The doors were used again to make a table, topped with glass and supported by repurposed railway tracks, in URA’s café space. The URA works on sensitive projects that require discrete conversations, so some executives accustomed to private offices inspired BVN to design metal mesh rolling screens on a steel track to flexibly divide up their offices along the perimeter brick walls. The flooring is a vinyl product by Bolon that subtly picks up the metal details of the interior.
In both PC/PIC and URA, the design challenge was to create quiet work spaces within the large shed structure. “We used the mezzanine level and bridges together with the freestanding towers to provide smaller, quieter spaces,” says Titchkosky.

A touchstone for the clients

The project has become a touchstone for its tenants, particularly the URA. Sam Sangster, acting CEO of the URA, says staff not only have enjoyed working there, but love giving tours to show off the building. And the project’s success for BVN attests to the firm’s current project, which is the restoration and adaptation of the adjacent Goods Shed South. “Needless to say, now that we know the building, working on Goods Shed South has been much easier,” says Titchkosky.

 

 




All Aboard: Goods Shed North, Melbourne, by BVN Architecture

15 December, 2011


Peter Clarke and Anson Smart

When architects talk about the challenges of adaptive reuse and renovation, rarely do they talk about runaway trains. Ninotschka Titchkosky, a principal in the Melbourne, Australia, office of Bligh Voller Nield (BVN) Architecture, found herself facing that subject head-on while planning new interiors for the complete restoration and adaptation of Melbourne’s historic Goods Shed North.
“It’s always a balance when working with these old buildings to enhance the character, while also making them functional for contemporary use,” says Titchkosky, who led the interior design of the project. Originally built as a railway shed in 1889, the structure was damaged by a runaway train within just a few years, and was later abandoned in the 1980s after decades of neglect. BVN’s charge was to convert the shed into open offices for two separate tenants: the Urban Renewal Authority (URA, formerly known as VicUrban) and the Building Commission and Plumbing Industry Commission (BC/PIC). BVN worked for the developer Equiset, with Lovell Chen as heritage architect. Goods Shed’s key historical elements, including clerestory windows, exposed trusses and brickwork, and cast-iron columns, were retained and restored, and the renovation overall is touted as the most sustainable historic building in the state of Victoria, Australia.
In plan, the roughly 110,000-square-foot shed divides into three bays from east to west, with an approximately 40-foot-high central bay crowned by a lantern running the length of the building. The 265 employees of the URA (pictured opposite and below) occupy 70,000 square feet at the south end of the shed, where BVN added a new building that connects the site with the adjacent Collins Street bridge. The 200 employees of BC/PIC occupy two bays within 36,000 square feet at the shed’s north end (pictured on pages 76-79). The remaining north bay was converted to street-facing retail space. In the side bays, BVN increased floor area by creating mezzanines that look onto the central spine, taking advantage of the lack of windows on the warehouse’s long sides.
The shed’s renovation was especially important for the URA, since it is Melbourne’s public agency responsible for city planning and projects such as the Docklands redevelopment, where the shed is located. The BC/PIC also plays a public role, overseeing the development and implementation of building and plumbing codes in the Australian state of Victoria. So, both organizations required not only space for their employees, but also showpiece offices that would provide flexible collaboration spaces to engage developers, contractors, design professionals, and public employees who may be planning new building projects or consulting on code adoption.

The BC/PIC interior
Even with the mezzanines, accommodating BC/PIC’s employees into its space presented challenges. BVN addressed this by developing two typologies of standalone, double-height boxes in the central spine—one framed in black steel and clad in glass and the other a hybrid of sustainably harvested messmate timber and steel bracing with messmate slat cladding. The timber box, or “tree house,” as Titchkosky describes it, contains two floors for meeting rooms. The boxes provide acoustic and visual privacy typically lacking in open plan offices, while the finishes respond to the existing shed’s prominent black steel ceiling truss structure and Baltic pine tongue-and-groove ceiling finishes. The open offices feature white Vitra Joyn and Level 34 office furniture. Other materials and furnishings also take cues from the existing historical conditions of the shed. Artemide’s Nur 1618 pendant, used prominently in the glass meeting room, echoes the industrial look of high-bay lighting fixtures that are typical in warehouses. Chairs in the lounges, meeting rooms, and breakout spaces include traditional bentwood Eames chairs from Herman Miller, as well as oak chairs from Melbourne-based Jardan and specialty furniture from Sydney-based Schamburg + Alvisse. The majority of the floor is a newly polished concrete slab, with strategically placed modular carpets and rugs.

The URA interior
The URA’s offices (pictured on pages 75-76) is divided into active and passive spaces, with mobile furniture by Jardan, Mark Tuckey, Wilkhahn, Stylecraft, and Schiavello in the central spaces that allow for flexibility and collaboration. Furniture includes BVN-designed wooden benches, self-contained Schiavello-designed green walls with potted plants, and the reuse of the shed’s original rolling doors as hanging partitions under a large central stair of heavy timber. The doors were used again to make a table, topped with glass and supported by repurposed railway tracks, in URA’s café space. The URA works on sensitive projects that require discrete conversations, so some executives accustomed to private offices inspired BVN to design metal mesh rolling screens on a steel track to flexibly divide up their offices along the perimeter brick walls. The flooring is a vinyl product by Bolon that subtly picks up the metal details of the interior.
In both PC/PIC and URA, the design challenge was to create quiet work spaces within the large shed structure. “We used the mezzanine level and bridges together with the freestanding towers to provide smaller, quieter spaces,” says Titchkosky.

A touchstone for the clients

The project has become a touchstone for its tenants, particularly the URA. Sam Sangster, acting CEO of the URA, says staff not only have enjoyed working there, but love giving tours to show off the building. And the project’s success for BVN attests to the firm’s current project, which is the restoration and adaptation of the adjacent Goods Shed South. “Needless to say, now that we know the building, working on Goods Shed South has been much easier,” says Titchkosky.

 

 

 


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