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Old Shire Offices

A glowing shed and a timber box: this extension of the Old Shire Offices in Viewbank combines these two elements to create a simple and flexible facility.

  • Client Brief

    A multipurpose hall was needed to extend the public event facilities housed within the historic Old Shire Offices in Viewbank, Melbourne. This historic building, designed by Harold Desbrowe-Annear, needed a sensitive approach; one that respected the historic hall but also opened up to the views south to the Yarra River.

    Design Response

    The design response was to think of the new addition as two intersected parts: a lightweight semi-translucent structure, that framed the circulation from the existing hall to the new building, and a container for these new uses.

    A covered deck area provides a porch between the old and new buildings, allowing them to be access independently, or used together. This is one of three external spaces created by the proposal; a shared deck extends from the multipurpose spaces to look over the sport grounds and riverbanks below, and to the north, a sheltered terrace area is created for more informal use.

    The materials used for the project are robust and low maintenance – fibreglass cladding,  external plywood sheeting, and wet pour rubber for the external areas – but each gives a particular character to the building and its relationship to the existing hall. The fiberglass provides a cloud-like translucency around the solidity of the timber pavilion, the timber cladding responds to the weatherboards of the existing building but sits apart from it.

  • Old Shire Offices Characteristics

    Key values

    • Flexible use, in conjunction with or independent from the historic hall
    • Robust low maintenance materials with clear qualities
    • Multiple external spaces
    • Ability to host several groups at once
    • Respectful towards historic hall


    Key materials

    • Translucent fibreglass Cladding
    • External plywood cladding
    • Wetpour rubber external surfaces
  • Old Shire Offices Specifications

    Core deliverables

    • Child care x 2
    • Kindergarten room x 1
    • Consultation rooms x 2 and waiting area
    • Various internal and external storage areas
    • Staff areas and meeting room
    • Bathroom and baby change facilities
    • Outdoor deck connected to external plaground

    Services provided

    • 2 x Multipurpose rooms
    • Storage
    • Kitchen facility
    • Toilets
    • External covered deck


    Workshop Architecture


    Project Director: Simon Whibley
    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Aaron Robinson, Jessica Heald


    Banyule City Council

    Date completed

    In Development

    Location and area

    Viewbank, Melbourne

    Internal 185 m² External Decks 65 m²

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