25 Rokeby Street Collingwood


  • John Wardle Architects


In 2012 John Wardle Architects extended and refurbished the building to accommodate their studio, Spacecraft Australia, Bus Projects and the ‘Lemon, Middle & Orange’ cafe.  On the north side, A new infill building replaces an old garage shed. It extends the length of the original building, creating a presence on the street that is both the front door of the cafe and the social spaces for the studio above.  A perforated and corrugated zinc screen is both factory-like and highly wrought, both old and new, and the suggestion of studio activity behind is made visible.

Key Features


The building is designed as a symbiotic relationship between architecture firm, a fabric printing workshop, a gallery and a cafe, where each one is useful to all the others. Staff do not just operate in the cocoon of the office but find their workday enriched by exhibitions and the activities around. It’s hoped this new source of activation is transformational in encouraging new activities in this old industrial area.


The new extension of the building not only provides break-out spaces to the existing building, its contrasting street appearance relates to and enhances the fine grain of the street and lives that surround it, contributing to changing the character of the public realm. This includes establishing planter landscaping in the privately owned laneway.


The new design prioritised retaining as much of the existing building as possible, minimising waste. It created a displacement ventilation system using deep floor plenums to supply air, and voids, operable windows and skylights in the existing fabric to assist flow and allow night purging. New and old windows provide extensive natural light and heat, operable external shades moderate them, while high performance double glazing was fitted to all new and existing windows, and the roof was replaced and insulated, all reducing energy dependence and maintenance. The new design created voids and skylights in the existing building fabric to aid natural ventilation.


The building provides the opportunity for John Wardle Architects to prove their abilities by meeting and working with clients in this evocatively designed space. The office was custom designed to the working habits of architects, and the staff are very happy with their new, better planned and easier to work in, office.


The top floor of the building combines all of the spaces that provide collaborative activity. An art program has been developed with Spacecraft and “On Top of The World” a monthly Art and Design lecture series have been held regularly over this first year. This and a seasonal flag commission (4 new flags each year) has extended the activities of our practice to a broader audience.

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