Heritage building transformation – bridging the old and new

The success of a new residential development relies on many factors; an important consideration is how well it has been designed to integrate with and become part of the local fabric and character of the area.

Even for urban renewal projects which completely re-imagine and transform suburbs, developments which are designed in consideration with the precinct’s history and heritage buildings add a layer of richness and depth to the communities they form, and greatly add to their appeal for residents.

Over the past 13+ years, we have recommended many properties which incorporate clever heritage building transformations. Here are just a few which we believe do a great job of bridging the old with the new.


Following successful and award-winning projects across South Brisbane, ARIA emerged as a developer known for their quality developments focused on the urban renewal of South Brisbane. Built on top of a red brick heritage building, which has transformed into a top-end restaurant and laneway bar serving the ballet and theatre district, Aria’s landmark development ‘Austin’ merges the old and new in the cultural heart of Brisbane. Fish Lane now integrated with Austin’s ground floor has since attracted many cultural venues and continues to attract businesses looking to take advantage of the unique inner-city space.

Across the road features additional cultural drivers such as the Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery. These cultural drivers influenced the naming of the Austin project, which was named after Richard ‘Dick’ Austin. Known as the man responsible for the golden era for the gallery and art culture in Brisbane, Austin’s unprecedented contribution as the chairman for the board of trustees QLD Gallery has helped the Gallery become the most visible and best-regarded gallery in Australia.

Aria looks to continue their recent success in South Brisbane and aims to add additional projects which showcase Brisbane’s potential and growth.

Pace of Abbotsford

The Pace of Abbotsford developed at 251 Johnston Street, Abbotsford incorporates a modern 10-level apartment tower above the St Crispin House heritage building. The project maintains the warm characteristics of Abbotsford’s industrial neighbourhood whilst embracing a modern authenticity that a uniquely crafted residency offers.

Known as the ‘patron saint of shoemakers’ in the City of Yarra heritage documents, St Crispin is known to have housed many shoe-related businesses and is a symbol for the inner north’s industrial past.

The project’s main feature is the transformation of the original striking red brick façade which dates back to 1923. Integrated above the historic red brick structure, the loft-style apartments incorporate four-metre-high ceilings which blend the charming characteristics of the past with contemporary-inspired architecture, creating an entirely new façade that interacts with the suns changing position. By integrating elements of old and new, the cleaver marriage of form and function allows residents the perfect environment to enjoy the cafes, bars and street art in the neighbourhood, bordering the city and Yarra River.


YarraBend is more than a project of transformation. It plays an integral role in the major strategic development plan for the Yarra River landscape, the City of Yarra and inner Melbourne lifestyle. Following the closure of Amcor paper mills in 2012, the 16.5-hectare site has since transformed into one of the newest suburbs to hit Melbourne.

The development plan acknowledges the existing Paper Mill heritage buildings as a guide to the precincts character and historical themes. Split into seven precincts, each precinct is designed with a unique character that reflects the artistry heritage and beauty of the site. Each precinct’s industrial influence can be seen inside-out, housing original red brick and concrete beams, zig-zag shapes of the sawtooth roofs and the industrial undertones of the robust interior. The buildings are also embellished with industrial-look windows utilising perforated metal screens that transitions and forms the exterior’s authentic façades.

The YarraBend project promises to promote Melbourne’s urban lifestyle potential by bringing together the latest ideas, technology, sustainability and design equating to a new and prestigious liveable suburb on the bank of Melbourne’s Yarra River.

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