The Bank of Victoria, Vaughan


  • Maria Danos Architecture
  • Warren Hughes Builders and Renovators
  • Leigh Worn Structural Engineer
  • Debbie Taylor Project Facilitator
  • EGBP Buildig Surveyors


Resurrected from a ruinous state, the former ‘Bank of Victoria’ in Vaughan (a village of 300 just outside Castlemaine) reclaims its original stature through careful restoration and ‘partnering’ with a new pod extension, adapting from a civic building to the next chapter as a country residence.

The original interior informed the design strategy for the building’s new life – to reference the historic past and enable engagement with the ‘bones’ of the building interior.

Annexed to the west, a new slate-clad pod is located to ‘service’ The Bank. Conceptually, the pod’s form re-interprets the heritage unique skillion roof.

Key Features


The project was a rigorous collaborative process with repeat clients, downsizing to a part-time city/country lifestyle. The brief included a modest ‘footprint’ and a secure, robust country dwelling.

By restoring and adapting the heritage building, the largesse of the original spaces now enjoyed as habitable rooms.

Considered planning & design enables optimum engagement of the heritage fabric and its relationship to the site environs. Also, the enjoyment of light as it changes path over the course of day.

Integration of building services to control operative costs.


Locally and culturally, The Bank’s restoration has breathed new life into one of the township’s ‘foundation’ buildings, creating a buzz for the community as well as employing the expertise of local and experienced craftspeople including stonemasons, brick restoration specialists, and carpenters and locksmiths.

Local consultants were engaged as the Project Team and a Project Facilitator (the local \’font\’ of knowledge) was instrumental in co-ordinating specialist trades to assist in unforeseen conditions as the layers of the bank were peeled and away and carefully restored.
A repository of currency and history, The Bank in Vaughan continues its public and private duties.


Where possible, a ‘retain and restore’ philosophy underpinned the restoration of The Bank’s four principal rooms (once servicing the world\’s richest alluvial goldfield) into new habitable rooms.

The faded beauty of original colors and decrepit wallpaper informed a new vibrant blue palette, painted to a deliberate datum – revealing over the original crafting of soft red brick and distressed timber lintels to enable engagement with the heritage building fabric.

Gold trims punctuate throughout, acting as a foil to the intensity of the color scheme and referencing the building’s original activity.


Annexed to the west, the new slate-clad pod ‘in dialogue’ with The Bank’s skillion roof, reveals as well as protects the historic building’s soft bricks from the harsh weathering salts.

Innovative passive design measures for additional comfort (eg introduction of insulation behind ‘blue peg-board’ for kitchen ‘tools’).

Task related spaces for clients are located in the service pod and are light filled, capturing direct sun for passive thermal heating of the concrete floor and for minimal reliance on artificial lighting and heating.

Color is used as a tool to reference to the historic origins and as a strategy to engage with the building interior.


In The Bank, rich blue color stops to a deliberate ‘human-scale’ datum creating an exaggerated plinth to reveal above the historic fanning brick and timber lintels.

Crisp dark accents delineate the steel portal linking the old and new, and steel jambs where openings have been cut into brick walls.

The pod’s interior form unfolds to reflect the exterior and is light and uplifting, in contrast to the moodiness and weight of The Bank’s interior. The remaining baltic pine timber floor boards were removed and finished to line the pod interior walls.

The project is as much an exploration of the civic vs private as it is about restoration.

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