Arbory Bar and Eatery [DRAFT]
[interview] the project story
Photo Credit : John Gollings
A previously unused sliver of railway land adjacent to Flinders Street Station has been creatively transformed into a unique outdoor food and beverage venue, Arbory Bar & Eatery. The design skilfully addresses all operational requirements for a large-scale, high volume, inner-city hospitality establishment. Kitchens, bars and back of house areas are contained within a minimalist architectural form constructed of timber and polycarbonate which responds in an abstract manner to the linear nature of the rail lines, platforms and river. While Arbory is sympathetic to the surrounding heritage context, it also redefines Melbourne’s CBD connection to the Yarra’s North Bank.
Jackson Clements Burrows Architects
The brief was to convert a disused rail line into a publicly accessible contemporary restaurant and bar venue that would sit comfortably within the surrounding heritage context and also contribute positively to the local residents and tourist experience of Melbourne.
Our response was to use materials that were sympathetic to the context yet capable of generating a variety of aesthetic qualities throughout the day. This led to the predominant use of timber and the use of white polycarbonate.
The kitchens, bars and back of house areas are contained within a minimalist ‘singular’ architectural form which responds in an abstract manner to the linear nature of the rail lines, platforms and the river.
A central passage extends from the east entry to the west, allowing for direct and efficient movement through the venue. Throughout the venue, seating is strategically located in the adjacencies to the passage and between the existing Plane trees. Timber lined bars at each end create a sense of enclosure while the gently rising and meandering entry path at the eastern end maintains a connection with the landscape and creates a sense of journey and delight from Flinders Walk.
The Arbory skilfully addresses all operational requirements for a large-scale, high volume, inner-city hospitality establishment. The distribution of services and infrastructure utilises the length of a 58.5m structure to house two full-service bars with separate outlets for service at each end of the site, a central commercial kitchen, customer amenities and an array of preparation, cold-room and storage areas.
The highly considered form and layout of Arbory effectively enables the customer experience to be unaffected by the movement of staff, product and equipment throughout the breadth of the site. In addition, the amount of customer accessible space and aspect towards the river have been maximised by stretching, flattening, and concealing the complete operational workings within the building envelope.
The design of Arbory cleverly enables the overall operational setup to fit within the constraints of an extremely narrow site while simultaneously creating a unique illuminated 'lantern-like' form which has been highly successful in attracting patrons from the south bank of the Yarra River
On-site navigation of the existing railway infrastructure, mature vegetation and site accessibility provided many challenges throughout the project. The adoption of a pre-fabricated ‘kit of parts’ construction methodology ensured cost and on-site construction efficiencies were maximised.
This project demonstrates innovation in its efficient rehabilitation of a small plot of land to maximise site area and illustrates design excellence in the planning and adoption of pre-fabricated assembly. Arbory seamlessly integrates with the existing river frontage while simultaneously it creates a dynamic presence which activates a previously dark and neglected public area.
Within a canopy of mature Plane trees the animated polycarbonate buildings are illuminated at night to provide a glowing backdrop from which patrons can enjoy and also contribute to the public nature of the Yarra River area.
Arbory contributes positively to Melbourne’s recognised culture of innovation and design excellence. In particular, Arbory expands upon a strong tradition of place making in the tightest of urban spaces particular to Melbourne and its laneway culture
The project is centered around a philosophy of adaptive re-use and renewal. The Arbory Bar and Eatery project 're-activates' a previously disused plot of land into place that can be enjoyed equally by residents and visitors to Melbourne.
The 'kit of parts' construction methodology ensures efficient use of raw materials, and if required, allows for complete dis-assembly of the building.
The internal fabric of the building is fully insulated and provides a stable, constant temperature for storage of food and beverages with out excessive use of mechanical services.
Renewable resources such as timber, and low voltage LED lighting have been used extensively through out the project.
This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.