Complex restoration and refurbishment works to the historic three-level Trades Hall building in Victoria Street, Carlton has reached completion.
Victoria’s Trades Hall is Australia’s oldest and largest trades hall. It was constructed in 10 stages with the most significant occurring between 1876 to 1925 and is a prominent Carlton landmark that continues to serve as a hub for union organisation.
The Trades Hall Living Heritage Project was led by high-profile architect and heritage consultant Lovell Chen, and focused on conservation works and refurbishment for the main public spaces in the 3,800 square metre heritage-listed building. Works included the refurbishment to the New Council Chamber and building services upgrades. A key driver of the project was to open up the historic building and enable public access.
“We are thrilled to reach completion on this iconic restoration project. Trades Hall is a significant part of Carlton’s history and we are proud to help preserve that,” said Graham Cottam, Regional Managing Director Multiplex Victoria.
The refurbishment included the specialist restoration of several of the main interiors, including the Old Council Chamber and the New and Old Ballrooms. The Old Council Chamber officially opened in 1884. The original 1880s decorative scheme, including significant portraits and elaborate wall treatments, is the work of prominent decorators of the period, C.S. Paterson Brothers.
Works to the New Council Chamber included the recreation of the original footprint resulting in 300 seat auditorium with restored honor boards and murals that had been covered during previous renovations.
The project also saw the construction of modern amenities facilities and a new lift to improve access throughout the building and deliver access to all new areas.
Working within the confines of an existing and occupied building presented many challenges throughout construction with both worker and material movements tightly scheduled to minimise impact on tenants. Structural changes were also carefully designed to accommodate the existing structure and integrate into the new works.
Work commenced in April, 2018 and according to Multiplex 550 people worked on site during construction.
This was one of the first major building projects to benefit from the Government’s Living Heritage Grants Program. The grant funding financed the refurbishment project plus essential conservation and activation works such as roofing works and repairs to the Lygon Street portico.