Architects Dig Up History

Market Insights
8 years ago
3 minutes

When Melbourne-based architecture firm, OLA Studio, set out to celebrate Hawthorn’s history with a heritage-inspired, boutique apartment development called ‘Ari Apartments’, they got more than they bargained for when early demolition works revealed a 120-year-old painted advertising sign.

The welcome surprise proved serendipitous for the award-winning architect firm, who reconfigured their design to incorporate the long-lost advertising sign into the building for the new project’s residents to enjoy for many more years to come.

Located in the heart of Hawthorn East’s former brick-making area, OLA Studio sought to celebrate the history of the site, reusing some of the bricks from the original Victorian shop- front throughout the building, as well as creating a heritage-inspired colour palette at the building’s exterior.

Timber has also been used throughout the apartments to create warm and inviting interiors, with timber floors and joinery and high exposed concrete ceilings coupled with the outer brickwork.

Ola Studio's Phil Snowdon said on discovery of the old painted sign on the neighbours wall, hidden for over 100 years, they knew instantly that they had to preserve it for the residents who now have a wonderful piece of history that could be incorporated into an incredible feature piece within their courtyard.“OLA Studio is passionate about creating unique and individual projects that focus on not only the requirements of our client but also the opportunities of the site.

"The old sign is also revealed to the public through the timber screened front facade, devised to continue the height of the neighbouring Victorian shopfronts that line Burwood Road which also hint to a building form that was once there and reveal the new building behind,"said Phil.

"Given the history of brick making in the immediate area, we decided to make brick the hero of the development. Brick screens are used to provide privacy to the apartments and their balconies from nearby apartments."

An entrant in this year’s ArchiTeam Awards, OLA Studio has set the bar high for urban housing in Melbourne by not only retaining the site’s heritage but by addressing sustainability throughout, using recycled or locally sourced materials where possible, and considered planning to maximise the cross ventilation of each dwelling.

Currently in its eighth year, the ArchiTeam Awards provide small, medium and emerging sized Victorian architecture firms the opportunity to showcase their designs across a range of projects in the categories of commercial, new residential, redeveloped residential, unbuilt, community and sustainable projects.

With this year’s judges including Rachel Nolan, Director of Kennedy Nolan, Jeremy McLeod, Founding Director of Breathe Architecture and Stuart Harrison, Director of HAW, Writer and Broadcaster, the ArchiTeam Awards provides practices with the opportunity to receive feedback from highly respected independent judges within the architecture field and showcase their designs to the public.