Original posts 6 February 2021
I still think of this simply as ‘Russell Street’, a fabbo skyscraper style HQ for the Victoria Police, in the news recently since a mini series about the 1986 bombing recreated the scene right in front (!). Replacing old barracks, the #RussellStreetPoliceStation was built 1941-3 (despite war restrictions on everyone else), and designed by the ever excellent #PercyEverett. It’s clearly based on NY deco skyscrapers, many of them clad in brick, but even more directly might be inspired by Sydney’s #AWAbuilding, completed 1939. Supposedly built under the #132ftheightlimit (plus extra bits), it seems to me to be 14 floors, gotta be a bit taller ! But maybe most floors are very low, being built as high rise barracks for all the single police men.
The Art Deco #RussellStreetPoliceStation is now very much a case of #heritagecompromise – the police left in 1995, and it went through a series of developers proposing towers directly behind, until the early 2000s when @bharchitects came up with idea of putting the tower to one side, allowing it to be much taller, but not overwhelming (as much) – in fact from the opposite corner they’re quite separate. But that meant demolishing the stage half of the police ballroom, leaving only the back curved wall in the current foyer. It was all supposed to fund the required external restoration, but during construction all the #steelframedwindows were replaced with aluminium (!). Similar but not the same effect. The entrances also fiddled with, but it didn’t have a grand one, a pair of nice stairs though and good lift doors, don’t know if still there. Great apartment up the top. My photo from 2018, the old ballroom image by Graeme Butler from @cityofmelbourne, the rest real estate sites.