After purchasing this state heritage-listed property in c.2000, The Australian Club engaged RBA initially to prepare a Conservation Management Plan, then to undertake a master planning exercise to determine the best future use for the former international bank building, known as Scottish House.
In 2005, RBA was asked to assess the condition of the Pyrmont sandstone façade, to which some limited repair works had been undertaken in the 1980s. A detailed assessment was undertaken (using a twin rope access method ) which involved recording the condition of each stone and preparing detailed drawings and repair schedules. With the assistance of a materials scientist, Jim Mann, RBA determined the various modes of decay and devised sustainable repair methods, adopting the established Burra Charter principle of doing as much as necessary, but as little as possible. New replacement stone was treated with a colouration accelerant to develop a homogeneous colour early on – blending new with old to avoid the chequerboard effect that often results when stonework is repaired.
Scottish House was designed in 1907 by eminent architect Charles D’Ebro, as the head office for prominent mercantile agents and shipowners McIlwraith, McEacharn + Co.
The restoration and conservation work completed by RBA Architects will ensure that Scottish House will continue to form an intrinsic part of the historic streetscape of William Street in the centre of Melbourne.
Extract from AIA Victorian Architecture Awards 2007 Jury decision for Scottish House façade restoration.