Architects: John Wardle Architects
- Area : 20523 m²
- Year : 2019
Photographs :Peter Bennetts
Manufacturers : Aqualoo, Armstrong Ceilings, Artedomus, China Southern, Classic Ceramics, Jacaranda Industries, Keystone, Krause Bricks, Lingyun, Mertz, Venestra
- Design Team : John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Bill Krotiris, Paul Holden, Goran Sekuleski, Alex Peck, James Loder, Jeff Arnold, Barry Hayes, Manuel Canestrini, Kristina Levenko, Tatiana Malysheva, Tom Denham, Aleksandra Jovanovic, Adrian Bonaventura, Stuart Mann
- Clients : ISPT
- Landscape : Urban Initiatives
- City : Melbourne
- Country : Australia
Text description provided by the architects. Anchoring the corner of Little Lonsdale and Spring Streets, the crafted approach to 271 Spring St Melbourne respects and enhances the vibrant, interconnected ‘Little Lon’ precinct. The site development re-engages the public realm along Spring Street, Little Lonsdale Street, and Casselden Place Lane via the continuation and activation of the heritage façade.
271 Spring St is a 16-storey tower featuring flexible office and function spaces, a roof terrace with CBD views. Two existing buildings - the Church of England’s Mission Hall and the Elms Hotel date back to the early 1900s are preserved and celebrated. Activating the original heritage buildings was keenly supported by client and tenant stakeholders.
The contemporary environment is intertwined with social settings within a community of heritage buildings. The Elms Hotel is retained on two street frontages and its sidewalls are revealed in the entry lobby. The fabric of the Mission Hall has been extensively retained; the new structure is carefully inserted away from the hall within the ancillary spaces. In addition, the front gable roof and rooves to the upper-level chapel and side rooms have been revealed.
The historic buildings connect with a dynamic interpretative entry portal on Spring Street. The tower has been a setback and elevated above the heritage podiums to provide light, space, and breathing room to the historic fabric below. This allows the Mission Hall and Elms Hotel to be read as individual, three-dimensional buildings in the streetscape.
An interpretive triangulated facade above the Spring Street heritage podium echoes the hipped roof of this building. The masonry base reflects in scale and texture the original buildings, it also aligns in height with the Elms Hotel. A custom-made brick has been used for the podium to pick up colours of the original materials.
The materials for the new additions are selected and paired respectfully. A highly transparent yet sun-controlled curtain wall facade affords views to the streets, parks, and city. The sun blades are expressed in a large stretcher bond pattern, alluding to the bricks of the Hotel below. To the west, an elevated angled window wall looks back and down to Little Lonsdale Street with corner pop-out meeting space revealing the activity within to the plaza below.
To maximise the urban potential of the site, the design focuses on activating a permeable ground plane. Extending through the lobby and connecting back to an existing, ramped pedestrian link between Casselden Place and the Urban Workshop. The landscaping to the plaza elevates the link as a place to linger rather than just a thoroughfare. Maintaining the fine grain character of the precinct, the ground level is designed around the human scale, promoting access and connectivity.
271 Spring Street weaves together community and office spaces, historic and contemporary architecture within the context of a highly successful urban precinct. The considered and contemporary addition of a commercial office building forms an exemplary landmark corner to the precinct. 271 Spring St puts in place the final set piece in this unique city district.