99 posts in this thread / 0 new
Last post

Pages

3000's picture
#52

Well unless they choose to do something interesting with the new retail (doubt it) the area will be just as dead as before. I agree that this should have been saved but honestly, this wasn't doing a whole lot activation-wise either.
Yes it was a nice building that had potential but who's actually bothering to help brig about that potential for reuse and interesting urban usage?
I hate to talk in such terms, it seems (for better or worse) that the motto for these laneways is "use it or loose it to glass and shit service grilles"

Back to top
Bilby's picture
#53

It has a fantastic brick parapet and great symmetrical doorway entrances with classical pediment details - can you find another warehouse like it in the CBD?

Back to top
3000's picture
#54

I'm curious to know what exactly the buildings use was before all this, my understanding was that it has been laying essentially dormant for some time now.
So maybe the questions are, why aren't these buildings in the laneway area being used?
Why aren't they generating enough income so they are too valuable to be knocked over?
Will glass podiums/retail in a laneway bring punters in?
the building could be retained and activated but for some reason this area doesn't seem to have that buzz, despite being ripe for another famous buzzing laneway similar to DeGraves or Flinders Lane.

Back to top
Michael Berquez's picture
#55

And contrary to my OPINION about this site in particluar I don't entirely disgaree.

Back to top
Adrian's picture
#56

I think it's already been mentioned that Guidford Lane has traditionally been a 'closed door' precinct largely filled with galleries, small independent business and the occasional inward facing commercial space eg. Krinper with resi above.

The nature of the brick warehouse and narrow streets doesn't lend itself to usage of the streets to open up the shops with al fresco dining / drinking so it is unique to the CBD in this respect.

So as has been pointed out before what is preferable ? An area of laneways that by nature is quiet but worth exploring on the inside or one that opens itself up to the street ?

Back to top
Bilby's picture
#57

There are plenty of unused and even "derelict" spaces around the CBD, but that's no reason to give up on them. Flinders Street station is a good example - most of it is derelict and has been left vacant and "unactivated" for decades. Perhaps we should demolish it and start again?

And before you say "but Flinders Street is a cultural icon", and so not comparable to this historic warehouse building - Melbourne's laneway precincts were equally "iconic" to the city's identity and culture the last time I checked. They bring in more tourist $ than almost any other attraction in the state, and form the backbone of Melbourne's image interstate and overseas.

Sure, demolition of one building alone won't destroy all of Melbourne's laneways, but even incremental demolition of the Guildford Lane precinct heritage buildings erodes the overall character and draw of the area. So there is a comparison to be made here - who would advocate demolition of even a section of Flinders Street Station? The Ball Room is derelict and unused at present - should be demolish and build apartments above the station, perhaps?

Or perhaps not?

Back to top
Michael Berquez's picture
#58

Surely the latter......I genuinely had never even heard of Guildford Lane prior to this forum so how would I have ever known to bother expoloring it?

Back to top
Michael Berquez's picture
#59

Bilby, you and I both know that it is compltetely ridiculous to compare our cities greatest, grand and most important railway station with a couple of derelict brick warehouses...regardless if they're in a laneway or not. Just Ridiculous.

Back to top
Bilby's picture
#60

Agreed, Michael - but if you follow the argument closely, that's not what I was doing. I compared demolishing a section of the Guildford lane historic precinct with removal of a derelict and unused section of Flinders Street station.

Taken as a whole, Melbourne's laneways are as important to the city's identity as Flinders Street, so the comparison is in fact very reasonable. The only area for debate is how much of Melbourne's important laneway infrastructure (and historic laneway buildings) you can demolish before we have to admit that "damage" has been done to this urban icon.

I don't know, but in my view, demolishing the Flinders Street Station Ballroom - which has never even been seen by 99.9% of Melburnians, let alone actively used, would be a mistake because of its future potential to the city. But if it was destroyed, we could hardly argue that Flinders Street Station was lost.

Likewise with the building we are discussing here - it's loss would not entail the loss of Melbourne's laneway culture as a whole, but it would certainly detract from the value of the Guildford Lane precinct, and if the trend continues, from the overall value of our historic laneway infrastructure.

Back to top
3000's picture
#61

Bilby, I never said it means we should "give up on them". I simply stated that when you have a long-derelict building in an area supposedly known for its activity (in this case, quiet galleries etc) it raises a question as to why this is.
I 100% agree with you that what we are demolishing is better to what it is replacing it (in terms of streetscape interface anyway). You say that there are many empty, heritage buildings in the CBD. And look what happens when they aren't actively used or saved, erosion of laneway fabric.
Do retailers see the potential here that others see?
Apparently not.

My problem with development in these laneways is that it begins to set a precedent that these laneways are fair game in terms of irresponsible development, we all know how many laneways have service grilles and other garbage crammed into them from the office boom and although they are places where people work, they relly don't add much to the existing area do they?
I for one would love to see this whole area kept as intact as possible whilst also allowing responsible development to generate some foot traffic to the area.
I think this is a pretty crap outcome, to be honest, but in lieu of actually using the building what else did you expect to be done given the current real estate buying frenzy?
A laneway of historic buildings is nice, a laneway of empty historic buildings is nice in the sense that its a derelict monument to a previous point in time.

Back to top
Dean's picture
#62

The problem for me is that the building looks to have been altered considerably - the windows and entrance are modern - and i'm quite certain that the insides have been altered numerous times over the years. So what's left of the facade has minimal architectural significance. So apart from being historical it has little in the way of heritage importance. lets move on.

Back to top
pdoff's picture
#63

"A laneway of historic buildings is nice, a laneway of empty historic buildings is nice in the sense that its a derelict monument to a previous point in time."

I respectfully disagree because, in short, potential is worth protecting.

I believe that if fortune drops something as valuable as the Guildford Lane precinct in your lap, a laneway network that any North American city could only dream of (seriously, visit the Urban Toronto forums and you'll get tons of references and a few articles pining for a 'Melbourne style' laneway), with the potential to be better or as good as any of our other iconic laneways, then you treat it as such and do what you can protect it. If at current there isn't the impetus, political or developer recognition or will to get the best out of the heritage character of it, then you're far better off sitting on it, preserving it (as a dead zone if need be) until the situation changes.

Too much emphasis is placed on having to develop now. I know this forum and website is generally pro-development, but surely there's a line across which we are better off preserving something of value and waiting even if the area will remain quiet or a monument in the meantime.

Back to top
Bilby's picture
#64

Yes, Pdoff, I agree. And to 3000s point above, the problem is, retailers do see that benefits of heritage laneway buildings, and many would love to rent one - but some building owners don't see any commercial advantage in this. That's where heritage overlays come in - if the building and precinct were actually heritage listed, limiting the scope for full demolitions, and perhaps limiting the scope for high-rise development too, then the existing building stock would become more attractive as a rental proposition. Ironically, many of these old places are empty or "derelict" simply because of speculation - nothing more, nothing less.

So, in some cases the very building owners / developers who are claiming to "re-activate" street frontages, are the same ones who maintain their heritage sites effectively as land banks for years - sometimes decades.

Back to top
Melbourne_Fragments's picture
#65

Dean, go have a look at the building currently being restored on the corner of Elizabeth and Lt La Trobe. previously painted blue and used as car hire office, you wouldnt think twice about it being demolished, but a bit of work to restore its original brickwork and suddenly we have a character filled bit of industrial heritage
The same is surely true of this building.

3000, the nature of residential development and property prices mean interesting uses are NEVER going to be as profitable as bland apartment podiums, this is of course why we need height limits and heritage overlays, Degraves street could easily just be an office podium if controls hadn't been introduced to make retention a priority and maximum profitable development less feasible

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
melbourne's picture
#66

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
Adrian's picture
#67

^^ It looks like they're doing an excellent job with that old Thrifty shop what you can't see in that picture is the new mini laneway created between the old brick building and the wood/glass structure alongside it.

We are unnecessarily destroying the character of so much of this end of town there's no doubt about it. At least here's one example that's been given back to us.

Back to top
Grampians's picture
#68

agreed.
i find that i am lamenting the loss of the integrity of the rear laneway more...it is more crucial to the texture of the entire Guildford precint

Back to top
melbourne's picture
#69

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
Grampians's picture
#70

geez man, most folks with a jot of respect for and interest in urban character, specifically Melbourne's know about that precinct...hmm, admitting you had no clue is pretty revealing don't ya think??

Back to top
Adrian's picture
#71

Beastie Boys (& Girls) performing the Archi Dig ..

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential
CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential
CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
melbourne's picture
#72

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
melbourne's picture
#73

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
melbourne's picture
#74

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top
Bilby's picture
#75
Back to top
melbourne's picture
#76

CBD | Union Tower | 296-300 Little Lonsdale Street | 42 Levels | Residential

Back to top

Pages