RBA are currently assisting with several projects at the VHR listed (H1960) Prahran Arcade at 282-284 Chapel Street Prahran, including adaptive reuse and some conservation works.

One of the key projects includes the return to the site of the pioneer wine retailer, Dan Murphy’s, who established themselves during the mid-20th century and eventually took over the whole ground premises for some years.

Above image: Dan Murphys circa 1960-1980

The Prahran Arcade, also currently home to JB Hi-Fi, is of architectural, historical and social significance at the state levelIts ambitious scale and opulent facade symbolise the confident exuberance of commerce in Melbourne during the boom of the late 1880s. Architecturally, it is a representative example of the Victorian Second Empire style applied to a suburban commercial building.

Above Photo: Prahran Arcade 1887

The Arcade was designed by local architect George McMullen, and constructed by James McMullen, for Elizabeth Delaney in 1890. It initially incorporated a central arcade containing nearly 30 shops at ground level and a hotel and Turkish Baths in the upper levels. With the economic
depression of the 1890s, low tenancy rates ensued. During the early 20th century, it was re-named the Centreway Arcade (evident in the floor at the
entrance to JB Hi-fi) and the shop fronts were refitted in a contemporary Edwardian/Federation period manner. The 1930s economic depression resulted in another period of low tenancy, from which there was no further recovery. Eventually the internal shopfronts  were removed and other changes made.

RBA is providing heritage advice and assisting with heritage permits for the building’s adaptation, including sympathetic installation of HVAC and  providing equitable access according to DDA regulations.

08 August 2016

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21 June 2023

2023 AIA Victorian Architecture Awards

The 2023 Awards ceremony for the Victorian Australian Institute of Architects was held on Friday the 16th June.

Several representatives from RBA Architects and Conservation Consultants attended the event, where we were proud to receive an Award for Heritage Conservation for the Prahran Arcade Façade Conservation and a Commendation for Heritage – Conservation for the restoration of Doherty House in Tarneit.

Additionally, we were pleased to see Searle x Waldron receive an Award for Architecture for the Joyce Chapel Bridge and Wardle receive The William Wardell Award for Public Architecture for the Bendigo Law Courts – both projects that RBA have been involved in.

Learn more about the Prahran Arcade Facade Conservation here

Learn more about the Doherty House Restoration here

Doherty House, Tarneit (Image: Thurston Empson)

Bendigo Law Courts, Wardle (Image: Tim Griffith)

Prahran Arcade (Image: Thurston Empson)

Joyce Chapel Bridge, Searle x Waldron (Image: Peter Bennetts)


05 May 2023

RBA Projects Shortlisted for the 2023 AIA Victorian Architecture Awards.

At the recent AIA awards event, it was announced that two of RBA’s recent projects, the Prahran Arcade Façade Restoration and Doherty House, have been…

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Frozen in time, we’ve become blind to ways to build sustainability into our urban heritage

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Staff news: celebrating 20 years with Anthony Hemingway

This year marks two decades of distinguished service for an integral member of RBA: Senior Associate and Architectural Historian, Anthony Hemingway. Anthony started at RBA…