Past Event: Transforming Designs

House within a Warehouse


Open Day

Sunday 25th August 2013

The adaption and transformation of currently unused older buildings contributes to addressing the issues of density and sustainability that are major concerns of our time, but standard commercial developers often lack the ability and initiative to retain the special qualities and spirit of these buildings.

The six projects in this open day are all exemplars. They demonstrate how the skills, initiative and passion of architects and informed building owners can:

  • generate alternative development models;
  • adapt vacated buildings and sites to create inspiring and liveable medium density housing projects;
  • achieve high standards of sustainable design and living;
  • nurture the human spirit by connecting us to our history while embracing advanced technical innovations of our time.

The Projects


Millswyn 1977 (South Yarra)
Architects: Graeme Gunn, Len Hayball, Andrew Reid and Ross Ramus

Possibly Melbourne's first multi unit and multi storey warehouse conversion re-development. A pioneering project which challenged and negotiated the restrictive building regulations and services standards of its time to pave the way and enable the adaptive re-use projects of today.


Stage 2: Unit 4 Interior fit out - Multiplicity

Stage 1: Townhouses - Mills Gorman

WestWyck Eco-Village 2002 and ongoing (Brunswick)
Architects: Michael McKenna, Mills Gorman (Stage 1) and Multiplicity (Stage 2)

WestWyck occupies the building and grounds of the former Brunswick West Primary School. The first stage of the project comprised a communal, or shared, housing cluster, five new town houses on the school grounds and seven warehouse-style apartments skilfully designed into the classrooms and corridors of the Victorian era school building. The second stage will include additional townhouses, apartments and shared facilities.

House and Shop 2007 (Fitzroy)
Architects: Six Degrees

'Originally built as a group of three two-storey shops with residences above in the late 1800s, the building was used by a number of small commercial and manufacturing business in recent years. When bought by the current owner ...'The existing space was a Dickensian workshop, with leaking shafts of light through rusted old corrugated roofs. Our client wished to retain the original character and most of the texture was too valuable to conceal, so concepts and materials were introduced to contrast and reveal. Use of black form ply and cement render allowed a restrained and subtle transformation of the space into two apartments.'


Heller Street Park and Residences 2011 (Brunswick)
Architects: Six Degrees

The Heller Street project explores a new model of medium density housing that utilises disused, contaminated land for public and private use. The site (a former tip) is remediated, and developed into a new public park with ten generous town houses at its rear. In blurring the public/private boundary, the family-oriented dwellings can borrow from the public space from the interior edge, while local residents gain agency of a previously inaccessible site - creating a greater sense of community and a more habitable space for all.


House within a Warehouse 2012 (Fitzroy)
Architects: Splinter Society

House within a Warehouse is a new dwelling in an old warehouse shell designed to be a garden oasis. Both architect and client strongly believe in compact urbanism, combined with green spaces and a sustainable approach to living, as part of a happier way of life. The brief asked for a highly sustainably house, executed in a clean and contemporary way and a ‘warehouse feel’, minus the cliches of industrial off-the-shelf purchases.

Paris Opera
2011 (Collingwood)
Architects: Rexroth Mannasmann

In this project, a specific, historic example - Charles Garnier's Opera de Paris - is dissected and transformed to inform a post-industrial space closer to home. A familiar warehouse apartment type is questioned and enriched via a theoretical shift of function and cultural context. A 3-storey brick warehouse shell has been remodelled from a 200sqm bedsit reliant on borrowed ventilation and light, to an apartment with flexible spaces and good inside/outside relationships.



Open Day

The open day will be self guided. Details of the addresses and opening dates of all houses will be provided with your ticket.

Tickets must be pre-purchased. Book early as this event is expected to sell out – ticket numbers are limited. Tickets and address details will be sent by email the week preceding the open day.

Generally houses will be open between 10.00am and 4.00pm for viewing at your leisure.
Note: 'Heller Street' will be open from 12.30 to 4.00pm and 'House and Shop' will be open between 11.00 and 3.00pm.

Entry to most houses will involve significant numbers of steps.



General Public $90.00      Foundation Members: $70.00    Students: $35.00


To purchase tickets  CLICK HERE  Upon completing your transaction and purchase you will be issued with a Tax Receipt. Open Day tickets containing the address details will be issued by email during the week prior to the open day.

Tickets will be emailed to the email address you use when registering to purchase your tickets.