The heritage-listed South Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop has been carefully redeveloped by Buchan as a new mixed-use commercial and community quarter that honors the site’s rich history.
Featuring large public and exhibition spaces, a specialty grocery store, restaurants, gym and educational facilities, as well as the original forge, the old workshop is steeped in history. The workshop opened in 1887 for the maintenance, then the manufacture, of steam locomotives. As such, it required a very sensitive approach to its adaptive reuse.
Buchan was sought out by Mirvac to undertake the project. The firm worked with Sissons Architects and heritage specialists Curio Projects to ensure the integrity of the building’s heritage features. Exposing many of the original features and reusing many of the existing materials such as the original timber beams and earthen floors used in the wall setbacks.
“It’s unusual to visit a commercial place that has been made interactive and appealing through the texture, visuals and even the smell (of the blacksmith’s forge),” says Michael. “We thought about how each element of the building layout can be used to encourage people to stroll, stop, meet and shop,” says Michael Curtis, Principal Interior Designer at Buchan. .
The building is compared by Buchan to a canvas, illustrating the living history of the workshop, Buchan sought to immerse visitors in the past, with projections of ghostly silhouettes, cabinets of curiosities containing original artifacts and reruns of original sounds and voices giving the building a distinctive character. do not feel replicated anywhere else.
“We wanted the artifacts and the story to be universally appealing – not just to mimic a traditional museum experience,” says Patrick Shirley, lead designer at Buchan.
A treadmill takes visitors on a journey of physical storytelling, with visions of the site’s history and stories of the Gadigal people seen as they move through the tunnel. A Davy pressure pump, the largest in the southern hemisphere, enhances the feeling of nostalgia throughout.
“We projected images of the Davy pump in action creating steel rail tracks, onto the pump itself, with noise and simulated smoke,” Shirley explains.
“It creates an amazing atmosphere and shows visitors the skills needed to operate the press.”
The brief provided from Mirvac to Buchan called for an attractive and engaging commercial and office district within an immersive experience that tells the stories of the site and its importance in Australian history. Head of Mirvac’s integrated investment portfolio, Campbell Hanan, says the precinct’s former life as the home of Sydney’s booming economy in the 19th century gives it unparalleled historical context.
“Mirvac’s vision was to celebrate the unique heritage of the site, linking its history and the stories of the people who worked and lived here with the thousands of modern workers and visitors to South Eveleigh today,” he said. declared. “Buchan has done a great job bringing this vision to life through an incredible design that celebrates the industrial appeal of the original locomotive shop, creating new ways for everyone to appreciate the fascinating architecture of the 1800’s era.”
The locomotive shop will open to the public later this year.