Saturday, November 10, 2012

Crossing two rivers Pt 2

What do we have here? It was a cotton mill. Now it is a mix of residential apartments and offices for small business. There is a good photo here. I've just had a light flash. We once went to a warehouse dance party somewhere near the river in about this location. I just discovered the Cotton Mills used be called Global Village and dance parties were held there. It must be the same place. Something has prevented me having a strong memory of the night. No, it wasn't there. The party we went to was in what is now the Lonely Planet building and Marcia Hines performed. As someone just told me, there was no proper dance floor, only concrete and everyone left quite unaware they were covered in concrete dust.

It just goes to show we don't need massive developments and the destruction of perfectly good buildings to increase population density.  This development is close to the river, a city bus line and it is not too far to walk to the transport hub at Footscray.

It is just the most wonderful reuse of a large old building.

A lot of the historical aspects have been retained. I'm not sure if you can see in the photo but where the track for the swinging doors is still in place.

I have been inside one of the apartments here. It was very nice, although as you imagine, hardly a standard apartment design. It was a cold and wet day and unsuitable for snapping, so that is why I returned. Some of the garages are parking spaces looked a little difficult to get into (snort).

You've got to keep an eye on Ivy. Turn your back and she'll be out of control before you know it. (note: It is probably Virginia Creeper, but I had already written such a clever line)

And so I depart Docklands Cotton Mills. There are buildings like this all over Melbourne and there is absolutely no need to demolish them when they are structurally sound and can be adapted to a new use.

I walked around this small building and there was no evidence of its use. It has a physical connection across the footpath to a much larger building. Could it be or was an electric substation?

As usual, the catholic church is very grand, even in what was a quite poor suburb. I suppose the equally grand house was for the use of the priest.

I headed to the station to get the train back to town. By now the wind was howling and it was quite warm. I was getting hot and bothered. This part of Footscray, near the market, was dirty and depressing, including what the awful looking modern construction to connect station platforms. I assume the works are about the Regional Rail Link. Maybe the area will be smartened up once the works are completed. I think there are about six Hitachi trains running on our rails, and I saw three in as many days, including one down below departing Footscray Station. I must try to ride one before they disappear. Police were patrolling the station, which is good to see, although you would hope there wasn't the need.The platform information indicator did not match what the timetable on the wall said about the next train. The timetable was correct.

I think these are the last of the photos taken with my old camera.

20 comments:

  1. I agree with you that buildings that are structually sound should be used for apartments. The down side is that some buildings like those are riddled with asbestos and once the asbestos dust appears during renovations that's when it becomes a health hazard/risk.

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    1. River, asbestos would have to be removed regardless wouldn't it?

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  2. It would be so cool to live in an old building like this. I don't know why but the structure and style of the older buildings provides more of a sense of well-being compared to the newer ones. In San Francisco I lived in a 1932 building with high ceilings, etc and today I live in a 1990's apartment that feels as if it might blow away any day, and I rather hate it.

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    1. Plenty of character Rubye. Modern is not very interesting, but you can do things with it.

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  3. Colin3:00 pm

    Windsmoke

    You are 100% correct. These old places are riddled with asbestos.
    Here in Brisbane - right next to my rail station, Albion, is a heritage listed building, previously a wheat silo and the grain processed where the country trains came in and unloaded. Been closed for well over 35 years, heaps of old extras have been moved, like where the trains came in.
    So far 3 companies have instigated a "living in style" - 2/3 and 4 bedroom apartments.
    Companies 1 and 2 went bankrupt - bad luck investors. Now we have the third mob - still operate an office. The place is all surrounded by high fences, no way anymore that the "homeless" and druggies - the police keep a great surveillance, the grass is in an uncontrollable state. The silos have lights on them for promotion at night, lights up the whole area at night.
    Present occupants - pigeons and a great kookaburra family.
    My idea - blow the bloody place up - it is a financial disaster waiting for all concerned.
    The police will be saved unnecesary inspections. The "Grafitti" twits will have less to vandalise. How and when these "creatures" manage to get to where they get on buildings is beyond my comprehension!

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    1. Colin, blowing up would certainly send some asbestos into the air. I suppose it would be cheaper to remove asbestos if you were demolishing, rather than renovating.

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    2. Colin7:11 am

      Correct Andrew. What I meant was to set charges and demolish it that way. Still there would be clouds of dangerous dust in the atmosphere.
      ASBESTOS: Read all about it.
      "Asbestos (pronounced /æsˈbɛstəs/ or /æzˈbɛstəs/) is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties.[1] They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long (ca. 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals. The prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses[2] including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis).[3] The European Union has banned all use of asbestos[4] and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products.[5]

      Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement (resulting in fiber cement) or woven into fabric or mats.

      Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, but did not start large-scale until the end of the 19th century. For a long time, the world's largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec."

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    3. I did not realise it had been around for so long. I've had my fair exposure when I was younger. It was fun to bust up old sheets.

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  4. I would have always agreed with your principle of reusing old houses, shops and public buildings (picture theatres), rather than destroying the buildings and starting over again. But the idea of reusing industrial buildings is a relatively new one. Good on you. You have some cool examples of where a grotty, old, industrialised suburb can look terrific again.

    My favourite blog example is the Colonial Sugar Refinery in inner Brisbane that now looks fantastic, RIGHT on the river.

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    1. The place has a good feeling Hels.

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  5. Colin5:08 pm

    Ms Hels
    Please give me more details on where this Colonial Sugar Refinery is actually located.
    I can't find the place by google.
    I shall endeavour to have a look.

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  6. I've seen pictures of it Colin. Someone wrote a blog post on it. Wasn't Diane was it?

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  7. Adelaide has a few old warehouses converted to homes or apartments and I think it's a great idea. Didn't even think about any asbestos though. I imagine it would have to be removed before restructuring could take place. Unless it was sealed off in an area that wasn't going to be worked on in anyway.

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    1. I don't think they take a chance ever with containing it now River. It is ok if it is not disturbed, but who can guarantee that.

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  8. Hello Andrew:
    We are always greatly encouraged when we see old buildings which have become redundant, such as those which you show here, put to a new and different use which, as it happens, can so often be residential accommodation. It requires vision, imagination and, of course, money but the results are, more often than not, highly successful and so much preferable to demolition.

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    1. JayLa, I think I once heard a figure that the cost is similar to demolition and starting afresh. But the end result is surely preferable. The problem is that the developers don't make as much money.

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  9. Its great to see the old mills and factories turned into apartments. They have done that in Brisbane in suburbs along the river.

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    1. Indeed Diane, and new buildings of an appropriate scale can be mixed in with the older.

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  10. It looks great, and well worth a trip across town. Just out of curiosity, when did builders first start using asbestos?

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  11. FC, as per Colin, it seems in the 19th century. I did not realise had been around for so long.

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.