Before and After: refurbishing a warehouse

Back in 2007 I was wandering along Adderley Street in West Melbourne on my way to V/Line’s Dudley Street carriage sidings, when I took a photograph of this random warehouse for reasons that I can no longer recall. (I presume the “Public Office” text was what caught my eye.)

Before: "Public Office" at 100 Adderley Street, West Melbourne

Four years on the seasons have changed, and so has the warehouse.

After: new Australian Red Cross Blood Service offices at 100 Adderley Street, West Melbourne

The original “Public Office” was a nightclub and bar, as this article from the February 7, 1999 The Sunday Age writes:

Perched as it is in backwater West Melbourne, between Spencer Street and Dudley Street in the shadow of the Remand Centre, the Public Office is as hard to define as it is to find. “We call ourselves a Bronze Wing lounge as opposed to a Golden Wing lounge,” laughs co-owner James Legge, of the hip architectural firm Six Degrees. “You can check your email, send a fax, make phone calls, have a meeting, eat and look at some art while you wait.”

The Public Office opened up in 1997 with no fanfare. The intriguing decor is similarly no-frills, made up of surplus office furniture and oddities, such as the bank of derelict 1970s TV monitors near the bar. Drinks-wise it’s the same idea – just the basics. But that’s the appeal. The owners, though, hesitate before calling their creation a bar. “It’s a hybrid,” says James Legge. “A canteen, an office, an art gallery and a bar.” The crowd is a certain type: artists, architects, students, writers and multimedia people. You could stroll in here wearing a gorilla suit and most people would just assume you were a conceptual artist.

Good for: Impressing (or baffling) interstate mates.

The refurbishment work commenced in 2010, converting the warehouse into the new head office of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service for Victoria and Tasmania. The brick building building now covers 16,500m2 with the basement and three main floors, and consists of offices, cool and freezer rooms, warehousing and laboratories.

Corner of Dudley and Adderley Street, West Melbourne: new offices for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service

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