Some of Melbourne’s most important places and precincts could receive permanent heritage protection, following a review by the City of Melbourne.
The Hoddle Grid Heritage Review has recommended permanent heritage controls for 137 properties and five precincts.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said 55 of the sites recommended for protection are post-war buildings constructed between 1945 and 1975.
“This is the most comprehensive review of heritage buildings in the Hoddle Grid since the 1990s. It’s also the largest study of post-war heritage we’ve ever completed,” the Lord Mayor detailed.
“55 of the sites are post-war buildings, including two hotels, a post-office, a cinema, a women’s club, two telephone exchanges and retail and commercial buildings.”
“This is about protecting our city’s heritage while providing certainty and clarity to landowners about how they can develop their properties while respecting the places that are significant and warrant protection,” she said.
“Pre and post-war buildings can be easily adapted for new purposes while ensuring their heritage character is retained.”
The final Hoddle Grid Heritage Review, along with the Planning Scheme Amendments to implement the Review, was considered by the Future Melbourne Committee on 4 August 2020. Due to a number of Councillors declaring conflicts of interest, it will be dealt with by an officer under delegation.
If the recommendations are endorsed, residents, landowners, businesses and the community will be able to share their views during a formal exhibition process later this year.
The new heritage overlay does not necessarily prevent redevelopment, but will ensure more sensitive and enduring development outcomes on these sites. Interim controls will not be sought for places with live planning permits.
Heritage portfolio chair, Councillor Rohan Leppert, said the independent review of more than 1,000 buildings took a holistic view of heritage by considering Aboriginal, colonial, contemporary, community, tangible and intangible values.
“Melburnians may be surprised that these buildings haven’t been granted heritage protection already. The review gives us an opportunity to protect these cultural legacies,” Cr Leppert said.
“It’s not about age. It’s about recognising the places that have importance to us as a community.”
“Melbourne was Australia’s fastest-growing city in the post-war period and became a leading centre of modernist innovation in art, architecture and design.”
“Our recovery from the Second World War was led by a construction boom based on modernist optimism and innovation. We now have a chance to protect our modernist architectural legacy,” Cr Leppert shared.
On 4 August, Councillors endorsed the Heritage Design Guide and Heritage Owner’s Guide, which aims to help owners of heritage properties in the City of Melbourne understand heritage planning and policy.
Below are a few examples of post-war buildings recommended for heritage protection:
Former Gilbert Court- 100-104 Collins Street
Gilbert Court was built in 1954-1955 and was one of Melbourne’s first ‘glass boxes’ utilising innovative non-load bearing glass curtin walling. It was influenced by American skyscrapers and has a distinctive metal frame filled with glass forming a grid-like pattern. John Alfred La Gerche designed Gilbert Court and the Coates Building at 18-22 Collins Street. These buildings sit in stark contrast with the grand pre-war buildings that characterise the Paris end of Collins Street.
Former Allans Building – 276-278 Collins Street
This modernist musical emporium was built in 1956-57 to replace the 1876 Allans Building, which was the largest musical emporium in the southern hemisphere. Allans Music was founded by George Leavis Allan, a London singing teacher who came to Melbourne in 1852 for the Gold Rush and went on the establish Australia’s best-known music brand Allans. The 10-storey building was designed by prominent modernist architects Godfrey & Spowers, Hughes, Mewton and Lobb.
The building features alternating rows of glazing and opaque red spandrels including a full glass front on the first two floors to house a giant grand piano showroom and television display.
Former Hosie’s Hotel 1-5 Elizabeth Street
The 1954-56 Hosie’s Hotel replaced the original 1860s hotel on the site in time to provide modern accommodation for the 1956 Olympic Games. Featuring interlocking volumes, solid and glass curtain walls and an abstract mural representing three glasses clinking together, it is an enduring symbol of Melbourne’s aspiration to present as a modern city on the international stage.
Above images courtesy of the City of Melbourne.