New architecture intruding on old

From the Victorian Heritage Database:

The school building was sited for optimal viewing from Alexander[sic] Avenue. The low lying land in the foreground was utilized for a sports oval and the land in between was terraced with steps, paths and roadways. This resulted in uninterrupted views of the impressive building from the north and west. The school has carefully maintained this uninterrupted skyline by limiting the height of all subsequent buildings and locating them to the east and south of the main building.

Well, so much for that then.

Melbourne High School (January 2015)

At a reunion a few years ago, they warned us that this building was coming. At the time I looked at the artist’s impression and thought: no way would someone allow that monstrosity to ruin the view.

But they did. That’s not CGI, that’s how it looks today from the street and/or the passing train.

In fact, it about at its best in that photo. In duller light, it just looks like a rusty blob.

I’m not normally one to cling to the past — progress is important — but so is heritage, and I think that’s a bit of a shame.

There’s another building, out of shot, a respectable distance to the right.

I know this area of South Yarra is growing rapidly, and I know there are cases like this right across Melbourne and the rest of the western world… but I hope the grand old school building isn’t going to get completely dominated by new stuff.

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By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

7 replies on “New architecture intruding on old”

I just checked my blog header photo and it is there, still under construction. I think I can confidently say, there will be more. I don’t understand why the locale has been named Forrest Hill, when we already have a suburb with that name. I suppose the former name Daly Town would not do.

They are making a right mess of South Yarra full stop. What is even more alarming is the reduction in green space per capita.
Stonnington Council already has one of the smallest amounts of park land per person in the country and there are examples of this size going up all over the place.

Would it have been as bad if the building had extended across the entire length of the school instead of only part, AND the facade on the school-side had been stylistically designed to match the structure of the school building, to blend in?

I do not think that that building should have been allowed so high. The high buildings are reasonable in the Forrest Hill precinct but lower high restrictions should have been maintained between the school and Chapel St.

I have been reading the Whelan the Wrecker book. The only thing you can be sure of is there will be no tears when all these apartment buildings finally come down. A lot of the gold boom buildings were supposedly very shoddy as they went up so fast.

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