Completion of the Abbotsford Convent Sacred Heart building restoration in 2018, marked the establishment of a thriving new multi-arts, creative precinct, 4km from Melbourne’s CBD.
With some buildings dating back 150 years, the precinct preserves the heritage significance of the site by protecting the existing building fabric and utilising prefabricated, galvanized steel to minimise the impact of modifications. Structural interventions around the site have been carefully and conscientiously considered; working close collaboration with the heritage consultant team, the Victorian Architects office, lead Architect and the builders.
New lift shafts, steel stairs and a mesh bridge that connects the old infirmary block to the west wing juxtapose old with new, improving connectivity around the precinct whilst complimenting heritage features. Following a campaign by the community to protect the almost abandoned buildings, the precinct now hosts offices, showrooms, pop up retail, studio facilities, workshops and events.
ACOR Consultants undertook Structural and Civil engineering services for the project and also provided advice to FDC during construction. The team undertook an extensive assessment of the site to consider the durability and capacity of existing trusses, beams and floors in order to support new lighting and additional loads required to transform the space. ACOR also coordinated with the geotechnical consultant, testing soil to determine the extent of intervention required for new floors and other strengthening works.