Yorkshire Brewery open for all to see

Yorkshire Brewery open for all to see
Mark BaljakNovember 20, 2015

The rebirth of Collingwood's Yorkshire Brewery is complete with the local landmark now standing resplendently as a residential apartment complex. Located at 1-21 Robert Street Collingwood, the redevelopment includes townhouses, 338 apartments over multiple new buildings and retail spaces at ground level.

The foundation stone for the retained heritage elements onsite was laid during 1876, with the brick tower the site's most intriguing feature. Over time Yorkshire Brewery has hosted both brewing and cooperage activities, although in recent decades the complex has remained largely abandoned save for the odd squatter.

SMA Projects, architect Hayball and contractor Icon formed the core of the project development team, undertaking the task of bringing the landmark back to life over an 18 month build period and along the way seeking a 5 Green Star energy rating.

Prior to the development parties such as the Collingwood Historical Society were requesting a "Development that will respect and enhance its heritage significance." How the existing fabric of the historic onsite buildings is interwoven with the new builds is a subjective matter, nonetheless the amount of public space available within the development is altogether impressive.

Yorkshire Brewery open for all to see
Inside the newly finished complex

Hayball describe the project as follows:

A contemporary new residential neighbourhood, anchored by the restoration and adaptive re-use of the heritage-listed former Yorkshire Brewery

Located in close proximity to the CBD, parklands and myriad dining and entertainment options, 1-21 Robert Street is a strategic new neighbourhood-oriented development in Collingwood. At the core of the project is the sensitive restoration and adaptive reuse of the former Yorkshire Brewery, coupled with exceptional design quality, residential amenity and public open space.

By reducing site coverage and providing higher built form away from the heritage fabric, a vibrant heritage precinct can accommodate ground-level retail, a 480sqm neighbourhood Square at the base of the brew tower and provision for heritage interpretation.

As well as offering environmental sustainability, diversity and affordability, the development will provide greater amenity and access to the site for residents, neighbours and the general public.

Hayball: Yorkshire Brewery Apartments

Most interesting is the placement of multiple visual markers throughout the site which provide a historic snapshot and visual accompaniment to the site's varied past. This is a unique touch among contemporary Melbourne apartment developments and is aimed at visitors moving through the site, as is the Melbourne Bike Share station located within the development.

Much like Brunswick's Tip Top development which was completed during 2014, Yorkshire Brewery doesn't hold absolute frontage to a prime street and consequently won't have waves of pedestrian traffic passing through. Nonetheless a very pleasant outcome has been created with strong ground level permeability throughout the site.

Should the light commercial sites immediately south of Yorkshire Brewery be developed, the potential exists for a network of laneways to be implemented. In many ways the area has the appropriate scale, history and urban character for such a move to succeed if attempted.

Yorkshire Brewery open for all to see
Yorkshire Brewery has a story to tell

Post Yorkshire Brewery, SMA Projects will now turn its attention to three forthcoming projects. Hayball have been retained as the architect of choice and look to have taken their design queue from Yorkshire Brewery with a similar exterior design theme from across both 250 Gore Street and 338 Gore Street, both in Fitzroy.

A third as yet unnamed project is also planned by the Southbank developer.

See below a host of images taken of Yorkshire Brewery in recent days.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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