We call it Building Excellence We call it Building Excellence

Warrandyte Community Centre – Yarra St - Warrandyte - $2,500,000

AS any first-time visitor to the historic Warrandyte township will tell you, its main drag – Yarra Street – has a distinctive look, combining the past and the present with its mix of cottage-style shops and other mainly weatherboard-style buildings.

The Warrandyte Community Centre is one of a number of  buildings  offering  that rustic, timber-inspired look which helps it to blend into the town’s surrounds.

So when Billings Long won the build tender from the Manningham City Council to renovate the multi-purpose centre – the design tender went to Melbourne-based architects, Suters – it had to ensure that any internal or external changes were in keeping with the character of the area.

Billings Long director and co-founder Damien Long says the builder worked closely with the council project manager on how to achieve the best “design intent’’ for the $2.2 million renovation, which involved a “complete gutting’’ of the interior. “Basically, the whole thing went back to the frame structure,’’ Damien says. “We installed new electricals, new plumbing and new mechanicals (heating and cooling systems). The fittings and finishes included new tiles as well as carpet to the library. Everything was repainted inside and outside.

“We also put in a new floating floor to the multi-purpose area as well as new commercial-style kitchen in the same area. And the job involved replastering the entire building. At any time we had between 10 and 40 people working on it. We started the job in October 2012 and finished it in July 2013.’’

One of the major changes was the installation of banks of glass with timber elements in a bid to expose the multi-use building with its library centrepiece to the northerly sun and consequently plenty of natural light.

“Originally, it was just a dark space,’’ Damien recalls. “The whole Yarra Street-facing façade was closed off. We opened it up through the use of large windows to the balcony and below. Sure, the building was oriented to the north but was not capturing the light. Now it is. This has made a substantial difference to the look and feel of the building.’’

On the outside, the community centre has that mix of timber and metal as well as a gabled roofline so strongly identified with old mining towns. An upper level wraparound balcony with stainless steel balustrading and timber handrails is a nod to a classic, period-style Australian architecture. But in a practical contemporary touch, the ample glass allows the light to flood in.

Inside, in the library, a cathedral ceiling and accompanying exposed timber beams accentuate this area’s sense of light and space.

You can further enjoy that ambience by looking down on to the library from the first level, which hosts other activities and organisations including the Warrandyte Neighbourhood House.

Smart, tasteful fixtures and fittings throughout are a testament to the success of this renovation both on a practical and aesthetic level.


Project Value: $2,500,000