Reflecting the relatively incongruous “back street” siting of the otherwise grandiose 19th century Fitzroy Town Hall, the new Fitzroy Town Hall universal access portal is effectively hidden from the street within the town halls extensive internal courtyard and is only accessible via laneway.
From its concealed position, the new Portal gives privacy to the building complex’s “back door,” providing a point of much-needed universal access into and throughout the differing levels of the old town hall offices, which house business units for the latter-day council, the City of Yarra, and local, not-for-profit entities.
As a building of significant heritage importance, it was equally imperative that the design response be respectful, minimizing the extent and impact of any intervention with the existing building fabric and ensuring the retention of the integrity and prominence of the original built form.
In contrast to the implied strength but literal inflexibility of the classical motifs, masonry and render of 19th century buildings, the contemporary, transparent re-imaging in steel and glass of the traditional town hall portal reveals the detail and workings of the existing building and its occupants, and facilitates a fundamental improvement in access into and within the site.
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