History And Modern Development Come Together On Rosella Site


Cremorne, an area located within Victoria’s City of Yarra district, is experiencing what many would call a development 'renaissance'.

Older building stock is being replaced by new commercial development in a sweep to bring ageing infrastructure into the new age with purpose for the future.

57-61 Balmain Street, Cremorne is one such location currently experiencing this trend. A development application is currently pending at Balmain Street for a new Rothelowman-designed project which will, if approved, juxtapose old and new to create a modern mixed-use commercial space for a top-tier international tenant.

“Responding to its local architectural context and landmarks such as the Nylex Clock, Balmain Road’s design explores the relationship between framing and structure and extroverted and introverted space,” Rothelowman said.

“Building upon the original single-storey rectangular form, the design extends upwards with curved massing rendered in translucent glazing that also functions as an environmentally tuned shading device.

The complement between heritage ground level and contemporary design is accentuated not only by the use of contrasting materials but also by the sculptural accentuation of a narrow curved ‘neck’ rising above the heritage elements.”


Project plans
The proposed building would rise to a maximum of 32.439m and provide a net office floor area is 6,526.4m2.

According to the development proposal, the Balmain Street project would be constructed with contemporary materials and finishes including concrete, metal and varying glazing treatments.

Developers plan to undergo demolition works of the existing heritage building but will keep the southern and western boundary brick walls and Rosella signage.

Three levels of basement parking, each 1529.7m2, will be constructed providing 127 car spaces and 7 motorcycle spaces, accessible via the north-west corner of the site on the Stephenson Street frontage.

On the ground floor, and within the shell of the 'Rosetta' facade, the developers plan to create a café and commercial display area with floor areas of approximately 136m2 and 580m2 respectively. According to the development proposal, the rear of the ground floor will provide storage, bicycle parking, substation, services and amenities.

Above the ground floor, the building will have six storeys of PCA Grade A office floor area in a contemporary addition, and each level will have office and amenities with centrally located access lift and stairs.


Rothelowman have ambitions to see their design for Balmain Street become a benchmark for commercial space for the City of Yarra, by creating an attractive workspace with a flexible and functional plan for future fit-out and optimised facade and mechanical plant for occupant comfort.

The development will also be designed and built to become a Green Star 5 Star building “aiming for Australian Excellence”.

“The site is proximate to a wide range of public amenities including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Sports Precinct, public transports, restaurants and shops along Swan Street and Church Street commercial precinct,” Rothelowman said in their development proposal.

“In addition, the proposal represents an exciting opportunity to create a strong benchmark for the continued growth of the suburb of Cremorne in the form of a local mixed-use … development that will add to the variety of commercial buildings and local employment opportunities.

“It will make a major contribution to the surrounding public realm and will be defined by high quality architectural expressions that will be identifiable at both urban scale and pedestrian scale,” they said.

“Furthermore, the aim of our design response is to offer a consolidated function of the site as a destination point combining different uses to bring vitality to Cremorne, add life and safety to the streets and open up opportunities which can be readily accessed by more residents, workers, students and visitors in one location.”


Rothelowman incorporated a ‘juxtaposition’ approach to integrate the old and new elements of the site, and centred their ideas around the concepts of local signage and iconic branding, framing and structure, extroverted and introverted space and facade expression.

“Rothelowman has been tasked with working within the history and sensitivities of the site to develop a strong architectural scheme which offers excellence in design and engineering and sets a new benchmark for commercial office space in Cremorne,” they said.
Site history
Cremorne’s 57-61 Balmain Street currently houses a former garage and store, which was part of the historic Rosella Factory complex, and known as ‘Building 1’. The building formed part of the Rosella Factory Complex, which was established in 1905. The Rosella Preserving Company, formed in 1895, was already well established when, in 1904, it acquired land once used for parking and stabling for the Cremorne Gardens for a new factory at Balmain Street. From the site Rosella manufactured famous tomato sauces, many varieties of jams, canned fruits, sauces, chutney and candied peels. In 1905 when it was primarily made up of galvanised iron, iron chimney stack and brick floors grounded in cement, the site was considered to be one of the largest factory of its kind in the Commonwealth.

According to the City of Yarra, a decision on the application will be made some time after the end of June 2017.


Images courtesy Rothelowman.

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