Respecting the past while reimagining the future of historic Younghusband wool store

 
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On the Kensington railway, in inner north-west Melbourne, stands Younghusband, an impressive collection of 19th-century industrial brick buildings spanning two blocks and connected by a bluestone laneway. Once home to the Younghusband wool store and now home to some of Melbourne’s most creative businesses and artists  the diverse historical warehouse factory is again being repurposed and reimagined.

Over the course of the next five years, our company, Impact Investment Group, will be transforming the precinct into a creative, industrial village integrating a mix of education, arts, food, production, co-warehousing and co-working space.

We engaged leading architects Woods Bagot to do a masterplan for the site which focuses on heritage, sustainability, and community. It’s our mission to respect the past while innovating for the future. We are refurbishing Younghusband with care and respect for its unique attributes.

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Built in 1906, Younghusband’s cultural heritage is historically and aesthetically significant to Kensington, the City of Melbourne, and Victoria. As one of only a few substantial wool store complexes to survive in the state, Younghusband stands as an important and distinct example in a metropolitan context. Its scale, architectural expression, form and materiality, give the complex an imposing quality and visual prominence.

The unusual spatial diversity of this collection of buildings is a rich condition that we will build upon. This is not a preservation project and it is not a new architectural project, it sits somewhere in the middle. We see it as a dialogue between what has been done and what is possible. 


The amount of work dedicated by the applicant to repurpose this incredibly important heritage building is truly remarkable.
— City of Melbourne councillor Rohan Leppert.

The existing building with exposed brick, timber floors and steel structure has weathered over time. The external conservation works we’re undertaking will have a very positive effect in consolidating the building’s envelope and preserving the historic building. We want to retain this character whilst adding only essential new elements to the building to ensure stability for the next 100 years of its existence.  What we do add will be designed to age gracefully and allow for new technology that will future proof the building.

Kensington is a vibrant neighbourhood with an eclectic mix of people and places. The diverse demographics and range of communities in the area have become a cornerstone of the Younghusband wool store master plan. From the established Macaulay road village and the mix of the industrial buildings and worker’s cottages this rich tapestry of the neighbourhood will shape our design direction of the project.

We hope Younghusband will become a showcase project demonstrating how a heritage industrial area can be revitalised without losing its authenticity.

It is a unique building that is robust and will stand the test of time.

 
Amalia Ridwan