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How Pentridge brickwork inspired the design of Coburg Quarter

Future Estate’s One Coburg Quarter development will use the fabric of the existing Pentridge brickwork to create a spectacular fusion of old and new, according to its design architect.

Rothelowman associate principal Jonothan Cowle said as part of the design process, they had tried to turn the idea of the “enclosed wall” on its head.

“We’re trying to transform the heritage of the site into something that’s really positive,” he said.

“It’s becoming more common, this radical reuse of existing fabrics.

“This specific approach to heritage architecture… trying to repurpose it with a new definition, is really very much a Melbourne approach to architecture.”

One Coburg Quarter features clever architectural touches to “open up” the bluestone wall.

“Given that we’re switching the meaning of the place from being something that’s about keeping people in, to being about creating a place to live, it was really important to us how we dealt with the threshold of the wall with our new architecture,” Mr Cowle said.

“(That’s) in terms of how we cross the wall, so in terms of our gateways and new architectural elements that create those thresholds between the new and the old, but also how architecture sits within and above the existing 19th century element.”

Mr Cowle said to lure pedestrians through the wall at street level, they would be given a sneak peek into an ‘oasis’ beyond.

“The space between the bluestone wall and our new building is this beautiful outdoor courtyard before you get to the apartments,” he said.

“We’ve created a little private oasis there that you can see from the street, through our new gate entry – the idea being that you want to cross that threshold.”

Mr Cowle said much of the inspiration for the building itself was inspired by the original bluestone wall.

He said the façade of the One Coburg Quarter building was designed to look like it was being peeled apart to reveal the terraces behind, from which residents will have spectacular views of Melbourne’s skyline.

“We thought it was really important that the language of the new building, while clearly contemporary, took cues from the horizontality of the 19th century wall,” Mr Cowle said.

“In terms of the colour and texture of the pre-cast concrete, we’ve looked to mimic the grout of the bluestone wall, so there is (also) the colour reference.”

Mr Cowle said he was extremely pleased with the design outcome and was excited to share it with the public.

Learn more about the charm of One Coburg Quarter here.