RBA are currently assisting with several projects at the VHR listed (H1960) Prahran Arcade at 282-284 Chapel Street Prahran, including adaptive reuse and some conservation works.
One of the key projects includes the return to the site of the pioneer wine retailer, Dan Murphy’s, who established themselves during the mid-20th century and eventually took over the whole ground premises for some years.
The Prahran Arcade, also currently home to JB Hi-Fi, is of architectural, historical and social significance at the state level. Its ambitious scale and opulent facade symbolise the confident exuberance of commerce in Melbourne during the boom of the late 1880s. Architecturally, it is a representative example of the Victorian Second Empire style applied to a suburban commercial building.
The Arcade was designed by local architect George McMullen, and constructed by James McMullen, for Elizabeth Delaney in 1890. It initially incorporated a central arcade containing nearly 30 shops at ground level and a hotel and Turkish Baths in the upper levels. With the economic
depression of the 1890s, low tenancy rates ensued. During the early 20th century, it was re-named the Centreway Arcade (evident in the floor at the
entrance to JB Hi-fi) and the shop fronts were refitted in a contemporary Edwardian/Federation period manner. The 1930s economic depression resulted in another period of low tenancy, from which there was no further recovery. Eventually the internal shopfronts were removed and other changes made.
RBA is providing heritage advice and assisting with heritage permits for the building’s adaptation, including sympathetic installation of HVAC and providing equitable access according to DDA regulations.
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