The project is a respectful alteration and addition to an existing heritage façade on the prominent High Street in Malvern, for a family business headquarters. Its design is a nimble and sensitive response to a heritage street context. Set back from the original Victorian era façade with the inclusion of a roof terrace, the new roofline mimics a traditional saw tooth construction, reminiscent of traditional warehouse building techniques of the same era, whilst maintaining the strong graphic line of the original brick front. The top-most level opens up onto a roof terrace to the north, with expansive views of Melbourne to the North West and to more intimate views of the Malvern Town Hall immediately to the East.

The project works on a multitude of levels to reiterate the existing building elements. The recessed additional level ensure the original building is maintained as a prominent feature on the street and at ground level the reinstatement of the ornate brass shopfronts pays tribute to the origins of retail design. Segregation of the three roofs align to existing vertical articulation points and the lower boundary edge has a reduced height to carefully observe the neighbouring built form.

Two upper levels take the existing plan of compartmentalised spaces and gently pulls them apart to create an open-plan, light drenched workplace, with a series of glazed rooms to house secondary private and semi- private spaces; meeting rooms, offices and a board room, moving beyond a singular open plan space, to one of a multi-faceted interior conducive to all the needs of a contemporary workplace.

The contemporary saw tooth roof, with its glass panels facing east, provide the interior with a glorious natural light, which affects are further enhanced by an internal glazed partition system of steel framed components which reflect the sun and create an interplay of shadow and light. The introduction of an internal sculptural stair to link the workplace, provides an optical and pedestrian connection. Its roof is fully glazed to the sky, pushing light down into the lower levels and providing visual interest right from the entry point at street level.

 Timber batten cladding to the upper level ceiling heightens the volumetric nature of the saw tooth and provides the workplace with a domestic, friendly and inviting atmosphere. This feeling was paramount to the brief; a key driver being to boost the friendly nature of the business. The warmth of the timber works in harmony with the textured concrete finish on the walls and provides a contrast to the harder interior elements of steel and glass.


September 2018


Nicole England