RBA provided architectural and heritage advisory services for this major redevelopment project from early master planning stages.

The former Hawthorn Tramways Depot, identified by Heritage Victoria as of State historic, technological and architectural significance, ceased to operate as a tram depot in 1965, however it continued as an administrative centre, clothing workroom, and training facility. By the late 1990s, these functions were also redundant and potential new uses for the site were being explored.

RBA was responsible for the Conservation Management Planning of the entire site during negotiations with a private developer. We designed, documented and administered adaptive re-use works to the tram shed (which now houses a heritage tram fleet) and interpretative museum, including reconstruction of the original western façade, restoration and contemporary adaptation of the interior.

RBA also provided advice on the design of the residential development to the rear of the depot (designed by architects Tzannes Associates) which included reconstruction of the façade of the second tram shed, while retaining traces of the original structure to link the new residential towers to the heritage buildings.

While achieving a significant economic gain for the private developers the project also delivered an enhanced ability to interpret the former use and attributed heritage values of this functionally redundant industrial site.