National Trust launches ‘Save the Windsor’ website

October 9, 2009

The National Trust opposes DCM’s plans to redevelop historic Melbourne hotel.

Denton Corker Marshall’s plans for the redevelopment of the heritage-listed Windsor hotel in Melbourne has met with resistance from the National Trust, which has set up a ‘Save the Windsor’ website.

DCM has proposed a three-part renovation and rebuild to the hotel, which is owned by the Halim Group. Their proposal aims to restore the historic building and introduce two new structures that work in synergy with the heritage building. However, the Trust is concerned that the Victorian building will be “almost reduced to a façade, completely overwhelmed by a new 27-storey tower and modern corner building.”

DCM’s plan is to restore the existing building to its original exterior appearance, including the reintroduction of the colonnaded ground level façade on Spring Street. A new addition will be built on the corner of Spring and Bourke streets, which will have the appearance of a “simple perforated cube”. This will replace the existing 1960s building, which currently houses a Hard Rock Café. The third element is a slim tower, rising behind the original building.

DCM insists that the new tower, positioned 25m back from the Spring Street façade, will “be read as a building unconnected with the Hotel Windsor itself”, providing a curtain-like backdrop that does not interfere with the original hotel.

The National Trust, however, takes issue with the tower, saying that the 90m structure will “dominate the hotel rather than provide a backdrop”. They are also concerned about the demolition of the rear wing of the original hotel to make way for the new tower.

The Melbourne landmark is located in the Bourke Hill area, which has a 23m height limit, introduced in 1982. There have been several proposals since the 1970s to redevelop the site, including one unsuccessful plan in 1974 to demolish the building and build a 38-storey office block in its place. The plan proved unpopular with the public, and prompted the government to purchase the building in 1977.

Image courtesy DCM.

  • Tony Naylor April 2nd, 2010 6:52 am

    Please don’t let this grand old building go the way so many of our heritage landmarks have.

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