Fake facadism on Smith Street

Repost this day 2019:

I don’t hate the #SmithAndCo redevelopment in #SmithStreetCollingwood; the #streetscape is appropriately varied rather than monolithic, though it is a bit of a mess really, with taller bits justified by the long lost #FoyAndGibson store. However they should never have got a permit to demolish and rebuild the Victorian facade – I found the 2012 #VCAT decision which noted Yarra Council couldn’t counter their ‘its falling down’ argument. The repro seems accurate, but what I don’t like is that the facade only has balconies behind it, with holes in the sides too! I didn’t like the idea iof such a huge thing when it was first proposed in 2005 (and approved by then Minister Rob Hulls), not built until 2012-14. [2021: but given the scale of other things nearby this is modest ! ] I found someone’s essay from 2010 reviewing inner melbs councils’ failure to reign in developments in the face of various State Governments ever since the Kennett govt pushed density, without any guidelines like height limits, leading to a zillion VCAT challenges – which of course the developers always win.

Not what it seems; this facade is a complete reconstruction too – quite unbelievable that the developers got a permit to not only demolish and rebuild this facade, but rebuild it 1.3m to the south so that they could squeeze in a fire exit. Originally built in 1936, designed by #HarryNorris (like most #ColesStores) it was called #ColesNo1Store, though that was actually a few blocks to the north- where #JGColes opened his first store with ‘nothing over a #shilling’ in 1914 (clearly based on the US Woolworths nothing over a dime model). By the 2000s the 30s one was pretty decrepit, which was probably how they got to do what they did. At least the rebuild is very well done, complete with (empty) shopfront. The development is by #JamArchitecture, part of the huge Banco thing called #SmithAndCo, completed in 2014. And it actually has a Coles supermarket !

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