Saturday, June 24, 2017

Care for a little Art Deco? Developers don't.

Flinders Street to the west of city spine Swanston Street is reasonably intact and not dominated by highrise towers. This building seems to be very old, early Victorian perhaps. It is now occupied by the edgy clothing shop, Dangerfield.


Just a bit further along is this very attractive Art Deco building, once a small department store, then the offices of the gambling company Tattersalls and now housing the organisation Yooralla, a specialist charity for assisting the disabled. I should think it is as well maintained inside as it is on the outside.


But guess what! A developer, Mormas Land Pty Ltd, wants to demolish the building and build a high rise hotel on the site. Here is what may happen. The council refuses a demolition permit. The company appeals to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal, which against the wishes of the council and I should think most of the population, yields to the developer, allows the demolition and development go ahead. Bastards. We don't have a lot of Art Deco in our city. It should be treasured and kept. What fine apartments or a hotel could be built within the structure.

26 comments:

  1. Andrew Art deco building looks fantastic

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  2. Developers have no taste. And many of them should be sentenced to life in one of their own constructions.

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    1. Oh no, EC. They live in expensive houses on a large block of land less than ten kilometres from the city.

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  3. And if the Tribunal doesn't decide in the developer's favour the building is destroyed one night by a mysterious fire?

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    1. Victor, coincidences do happen....don't they?

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  4. Here in Launceston we had a development with Art Deco, the company wanted to demolish all but there was an outcry, council said no unless the company kept the Facade of the building - they did and all was well.
    Hopefully that can be done in Melbourne's case.

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    1. Margaret, I have a feeling that what you suggest will be the outcome. Facadism can work, but not always very well. Launceston has some really nice Art Deco. Thomas Ryan has posted quite a number of photos of Launceston. http://modernismtas.blogspot.com.au/

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  5. Sadly cash often over-rules conservation. Maybe you should have a 'listed buildings' system in Oz, where such things are untouchable.

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    1. Cro, we do have a system which to me seems ridiculously complex and open to abuse. The building was graded C in 1993 but I have no idea what that means. It should be regraded now to a higher level.

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  6. And what will happen to the Yoorall Organisation? They're a charity, and charities are notoriously short on funds. Do these greedy developers think the charity can just up sticks and buy another building somewhere else?

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    1. River, frankly I have little time for Yooralla. Too many bad things have happened within the organisation. I would imagine Yooralla rents the building and will move elsewhere.

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  7. this is a universal problem with buildings or streetscapes we are all emotionally attached to. The books by Judy Buckridge [?] on Old St.Kilda Road's ruination come to mind.
    Everything has to be 40 stories to raise enough $$$ to pay the city council rates. The council should make special discount rates for any building that went up before 1890.
    That very old section of Flinders Street has the building of Port Phillip Arcade entrance and over it a very interesting 1960's style facade sculpture. I hope it is still there.

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    1. Ann, I have my copy of the book, of course. Wouldn't the building be rated on its value? It would have a much lower rating than a tower built there, but I agree, rate concessions should be investigated to keep buildings. Port Phillip Arcade will be demolished for Metrorail, or whatever name it has this week. I agree about the sculpture and it at least should be kept.

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  8. It's going on here too we have so much development all high rise all very boring.
    Merle..........

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    1. Yes Merle. Most of the best cities in Europe are all quite low rise. You've been there. You would know.

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  9. I am besotted with Art Deco and you are correct, we don't have/didn't protect nearly enough buildings.

    This is a real surprise. The greatest global cities in have been named as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Beijing etc., but note that Melbourne came 15th most influential city in the universe! Why are we destroying our precious legacy??

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    1. Hels, I read that piece too, a great read.

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  10. Oh no, I hope that doesn't happen Andrew. Old buildings should be heritage listed, specially if the buildings are historical or are aesthetically appealing like that Art Deco building.

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  11. People power has saved many old buildings, including Art Deco buildings, here in Perth Andrew. If the voices are loud enough, especially if they can get a few influential names involved! Aimee loves the Dangerfield brand, very cool clothes.

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    1. Grace, I don't know how Dangerfield is structured as a company, but it began in a grungy but trendy lane here in Prahran, Greville Street, actually. I used to buy some clothes there.

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  12. That makes me so furious ! It happens all the time here too ! All old beautiful buildings are demolished and ugly new high buildings are built in their place. I used to love London but since the Olympic games they have demolished whole areas and it looks like Dubai to me !

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    1. Gattina, it is so important that our history and city areas are conserved with some adaption to modern use. As in many cities, put the highrise towers on the outskirts of cities.

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  13. oh no! I l adore art deco buildings, they should be saved, they're gorgeous

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    1. I so agree Fen. Art Deco looks stylish even in 2017.

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