The proposed carbon neutral development is located on the corner of Brickworks Drive and Dawson Street and comprises of:
A dedicated interactive museum showcasing the history of the Brickworks
A Pottery workshop and cafe commercial spaces
Community co-working office spaces
Shared urban garden
Landscape improvements to the broader precinct
In developing a design for a replacement building, extensive consultation with Heritage Victoria was undertaken to ensure that the buildings are site responsive and sympathetic to and representative of the original buildings. In this it is important to not lose sight of the role and place that the Brick Pressing Shed in particular, and the Former Engine House, had in the functioning of the Hoffman Brickworks and the manufacture of bricks in Melbourne as well as the scale of the Hoffman operation. Therefore the design intent was to create a literal interpretation of the existing Brick Pressing Shed in terms of shape, bulk, scale and materials.
The new building, designed by top tier architect, MGS Architects has been conceived as having three distinct portion i.e. one emulating the Brick Pressing Shed, one emulating the Former Engine House and the other clearly being the apartment building. The design has also enabled the retention of six of the seven brick pressing machines to demonstrate the actual scale of Hoffman's production.
Material selections are site responsive and durable in nature and shall include recycled/salvaged brick from the site.
The material palette for the external cladding is inspired by the Hoffman Brickworks industrial heritage and the surrounding architectural language. Materials comprise of red brick recycled from the existing buildings and profiled galvanised steel sheet metal cladding. Upper levels accommodating the apartment dwellings are clad with a combination of mesh metal sheeting and powder coated sheet metal to break the facade visually and be less intrusive to the surrounding built environment.
Importantly, the treatment along Dawson Street will announce the existence of the Brickworks and encourage visitors into the site which does not happen presently. The transparency of the Ground level of the replacement building will enable visitors to see, and wander amongst, the brick pressing machines while also making a visual connection to the Kiln chimneys. More of the story of the Brickworks will be told inside the museum. The complementary active uses such as the cafe, pottery workshop, co-working offices and community spaces will also be an additional attractor for visitation to this museum.
THE BRICKWORKS MUSEUM
The Brickworks Museum will be a significant addition to the heritage interpretation available on the Hoffman Brickworks site. It includes a significant museum/interpretation centre that will showcase the sites former use (both as a Brick and Pottery works) and its significance through displays and exhibition of six of the seven original brick press machines and artefacts. Within the interpretation centre, we are exploring the potential to reuse/feature some of the original building material into internal spaces.
A co-working/incubator centre will be integrated into the new facility which offer further benefit to the community with spaces to connect and collaborate with other members of the local community.
The interpretation space also includes a commercial cafe with enhances opening hours to encourage visitation, security and maintenance of the facility.
This proposed development will make a positive contribution towards local amenity and communicating to locals and visitors the impressive historic use of the site.
This is a community centred development with historical significance and is designed to provide high level pedestrian priority and improved streetscape. The development will also deliver significant, high-quality community benefits in the form of a managed heritage interpretation space (museum) that is open to the public for extended hours, community workspaces and landscape improvements to the broader precinct.
Public realm landscape improvements proposed include:
Improved, direct north-south pedestrian street connecting Dawson Street and Brickworks Drive/Leury Link to the north (connecting to Gilpin Park)
A new 'pocket park' to the east of the site comprising public seating
A publicly accessible forecourt providing common access to the residential, commercial and interpretative functions of the building and showcasing interpretive elements including the original brick press machines
A shared community urban garden to the north providing some separation between the adjacent residential building and the interpretation centre (museum) showcasing another original brick press machine.
General activation/enlivenment of the precinct through introducing new active uses
The proposal includes many 'active' uses that will enliven interfaces and improve passive surveillance across the broader precinct. These include a hospitality venue, interpretation centre, and community workspaces/offices. The cafe is positioned at the southeast corner of the building to create a welcoming, activated address for the building at Dawson Street.