The adaptation strategy called for the insertion of new independently-supported (hence reversible) steel structures in some of the voids that run down the centre of the long stables wing, creating more floor space at mezzanine level, where existing ceiling heights are low. Moveable walls on the mezzanines are reconfigurable for exhibition use. The addition of a new internal steel staircase and a freestanding lift shaft in the courtyard have been carried out as part of DDA compliance works.
The complex is V-shaped in plan, with the two-level stables wing running along Dodds Street and the double-height riding school along Grant Street, with a pavilion (the Octagon) where they meet. Conservation works included: replacement of the roofing, gutters, downpipes and flashings; and repairs to the brickwork, steel window frames, concrete lintels and the Octagon lantern.
The red brick stables (1912) and riding school (1913) were part of the former Victoria Police Depot facing St Kilda Road, now the VCA Southbank campus of the University of Melbourne. Most of the heritage registered buildings on the site were already occupied by the arts school but the stables and riding school continued to be used by the police’s Mounted Branch up until February 2016 — six of the original horse loose boxes have been retained and conserved in the centre of the complex, now used for offices and meeting spaces.
For the interpretation of the complex required by the heritage permit for the works, Lovell Chen is working on a site-wide strategy, placing the stables in the context of the whole Depot.
Share this page