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What a load of bunk !!!!! These doomsayers..even the National Trust ! Many of these renders are from above...which is OK, shows whats planned but they tend to overshadow the old Windsor. Today I drove down Macarthur St. to the top of Collins and all you see rising above the Windsor facade is shear glass rising around 40 stories behind on the old Southern Cross Site. Walking on Spring St. this new tower would hardly be noticeable and even if it is only hides 50 story high rise behind. Nuts !!!!! If they saw the earlier proposal of a 40 story tower on the corner of Spring and Bourke they would have something to complain about!!!! Many major and historic Hotels and buildings have high rise additions.....Look at the Sydney GPO with the Westin attached behind. The GPO is restored and has been given a new life. The Windsor has to be upgraded...including larger rooms and facilities to compete in todays world yet retain as much of it's historic features to keep it unique.When I hear news reports that a huge glass skyscraper is desecrating our old girl maybe they should look at the alternatives......Let it go broke ? Let this project begin as soon as possible IMO.
 

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Hear hear! See blabby's comments in related thread!
 

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looks like a good development.
respectful to the original facade in that the tower is a fair bit behind the main building and I'm happy that they're demolishing the 1960's extension.
 

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What a load of bunk !!!!! These doomsayers..even the National Trust ! Many of these renders are from above...which is OK, shows whats planned but they tend to overshadow the old Windsor. Today I drove down Macarthur St. to the top of Collins and all you see rising above the Windsor facade is shear glass rising around 40 stories behind on the old Southern Cross Site. Walking on Spring St. this new tower would hardly be noticeable and even if it is only hides 50 story high rise behind. Nuts !!!!! If they saw the earlier proposal of a 40 story tower on the corner of Spring and Bourke they would have something to complain about!!!! Many major and historic Hotels and buildings have high rise additions.....Look at the Sydney GPO with the Westin attached behind. The GPO is restored and has been given a new life. The Windsor has to be upgraded...including larger rooms and facilities to compete in todays world yet retain as much of it's historic features to keep it unique.When I hear news reports that a huge glass skyscraper is desecrating our old girl maybe they should look at the alternatives......Let it go broke ? Let this project begin as soon as possible IMO.
Well said!
I don't exactly like the impression of the new north wing - looks shabby, though I imagine they still have to refine the design etc?
 

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Thought I'd post the article....

http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-news/row-over-plan-for-hotel-windsor-tower-20090729-e0lj.html

From The Age

Row over plan for Hotel Windsor tower
Louisa Penfold, Kate Lahey
July 29, 2009

The National Trust of Victoria says a proposed 25-storey tower to be built behind Melbourne’s iconic Hotel Windsor could threaten the heritage character of the area.

The glass tower, which the architects describe as looking like a ‘‘shower curtain’’ draped behind the original hotel on Spring Street, is part of a $260 million redevelopment of the historic building.

National Trust chief executive officer Martin Purslow said that while the Trust supported the need to modernise the existing building, it did not see the need for the massive tower, which would breach mandatory height controls in the city precinct.

‘‘The Trust regrets the proposal to demolish the rear wing of the original building, and replace it with a 27-storey tower that far exceeds the height limit for the area,’’ he said.

The tower will house guest rooms and suites, meeting rooms and health and leisure facilities. In the Windsor’s publicity material, it is described as a "slim and elegant" backdrop for the hotel.

Architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall has proposed an innovative wavy all-glass ‘‘shower curtain’’ to diminish the visual impact of the tower.

Architect Bill Corker said the tower would be a 11.5 metre wide glass curtain that would be ‘‘floating discreetly’’ behind the original hotel.

‘‘It literally is a sheer, curvy glass curtain wall that’s literally a backdrop,’’ Mr Corker said.

Mr Corker said the giant curtain would be ''a very interesting facade''.

But the National Trust is concerned about the high visibility of the tower from Spring Street, claiming it could threaten the heritage character of the area.

The Windsor's proposed redevelopment will also include a major restoration of the original building, including the reinstatement of the Spring Street colonnade.

The Spring Street frontage will also be reopened to create walking space between the windows and exterior columns, while the 1960s Bourke Street corner is marked for bigger changes.

A new corner building will also be built to replace the 1960s north wing addition as part of the hotel’s plans to add 152 rooms to the 180-room five-star hotel.

Windsor chief executive David Perry said the hotel’s owner, the Halim Group, was committed to returning the Windsor ‘‘to her position of glory as one of the world’s great grand hotels’’.

Mr Perry said the redevelopment would restore the hotel’s status as one of the great grand hotels of the world - not just a good place for afternoon tea.
‘‘If you have afternoon tea, you have it at the Windsor - or you’re not having it at the best establishment,’’ Mr Perry said.

"But when it comes to hotel accommodation, we used to be the choice for royalty, we used to be the choice for the legends of the screen, politics, the world stage, and we now have competition.’’

The plans have been received by Heritage Victoria and the Department of Planning and Community Development._Jim Gardner, acting executive director of Heritage Victoria, said the proposal’s impact on the cultural heritage of the area would be of high importance.

If approved, the redevelopment of the Hotel Windsor will commence late next year. Construction is expected to take 30 months.

Mr Corker has been discussing the plan with the Government and Heritage Victoria since last November and said he had received a ‘‘good vibe’’ that the project would be approved.

Denton Corker Marshall is the architecture firm behind the Melbourne Museum and the Adelphi Hotel.

Like the Adelphi, the new Windsor will have a swimming pool extending over a Melbourne laneway.

Mr Perry told reporters this morning the development was vital to the hotel’s survival. Owner Adipoetra Halim, director of the Melbourne-based Halim Group which owns the hotel, would not say whether the Windsor was losing money.
 

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Text from A Short History of Melbourne Architecture

Windsor Hotel
137 Spring Street
1884-88 Charle Webb

The Windsor Hotel, with its twin French Empire towers and opulent interiors, is one of Australia’s most majestic 19th century hotels. Built with 200 rooms in 1884 and known as the Grand Hotel, it was extended for the Century Exhibition of 1888 to 360 rooms, and named the Grand Coffee Palace in the spirit of temperance of the time. It was renamed the Windsor Hotel in the 1920s.



Above, the Windsor Hotel then called the Grand Hotel was originally only half its size, as seen in this photograph from 1884.
Below, the entrance to the Windsor Hotel as it looked in 1888.



The larger building below.



Below, four postcards of the Windsor Hotel.









Inside the Windsor dining room.



Some of my own shots below.







 

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Is that more or less our concensus? Good tower, bad north wing?
Im with you almost anything would be better than the eyesore on the Bourke St corner.
Why cant something less strident be built that actually enhances the Spring St facade?
 

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As Collector's great pics show the original building was much smaller then added to as the hotel expanded. The early extension continued the architectural style. Much later the Bourke St corner building was added in a different style. If Cathedrals and even some of the Windsor can be expanded using a unified architectural style why couldn't the early architecture continue to the corner with the glass tower behind. I remember years ago a proposal to reinstate old verandas to the Bourke st block between Spring and Exhibition sts. Most is still lowrise and blends with Parliament House opposite. Even though I am for the new plans not sure if the new corner building will fit well with it's neighbours. The corner building is more confrontational than the tower behind IMO.
 

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Im all for it.
It will make the Winsdor Hotel the best hotel in the country.
The tower wont be that noticible from Spring St, you would need to stand way back to see the tower lomming in the background.
The top end of Bourke St is run down between Exhibition and Spring st. The new corner building would bring much needed contrast to the area, it really is run down, but in a good way.
The Winsdor is 1st and foremost a business that needs to make money to keep afloat, this development would cement the Winsdor as the No1 Hotel for along time to come. :)
 

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Love the sound of another cantilevered swimming pool gracing the city's laneways. Go Windsor! I really hope this happens.
 

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http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/securing-our-cityx2019s-heritage-20090730-e2xh.html?page=-1

Securing our city’s heritage
Norman Day
July 31, 2009

Illustration: Andrew Dyson
FOR many years Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel epitomised a city of grace, with its polished decorum and firm roots in the 1800s Victorian boom era.

But in the past decade or so, the building has languished under the weight of that heritage and fallen behind as a preferred destination for visitors and locals – except those looking for a good cup of tea.

A city can be evaluated at one level by the quality of its hospitality, and the Windsor says much about Melbourne, just as the Peninsula says much about Hong Kong, Raffles about Singapore, the Oriental about Bangkok and the Eastern and Oriental Hotel about Penang.

But it is important that signature hotels marry their heritage and repute with an energetic modernity. (It’s worth noting that each of these hotels has undergone major renovations over the past 20 years.)

Leading hotels these days need to contain spacious lobbies, and part of their offering should include spas, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a selection of dining rooms, bars and meeting rooms. The Windsor must regenerate and expand to stay alive and well.

Architects Denton Corker Marshall’s plans for the Windsor provide a measure of the way the hotel should develop, but they go further, suggesting a prototype for developing any part of Melbourne where significant heritage issues apply.

Their proposal deals with the three main essentials of a prime Melbourne city site – heritage, urban design and good fresh ideas.

The firm has designed its scheme as three distinct parcels. One renews and restores the original Victorian building, which was a gem designed by Charles Webb and built in 1883.

The plans call for a stripping away of unsuitable elements on that edifice and opening up the famous dining room with a new colonnade, where the Spring Street windows will be expanded within the original building fabric, so there is a connection between the footpath and the room.

Most of the original building will be restored, including the staircase, ancient open metal elevators, the ornate facade and the iconic ballroom. The job includes retaining the patina of the place, the decorative tiles, brass rails, mirrors and deep timber panels. Even the old bedroom suites along Spring Street will stay.

A new hotel foyer will be located between the old hotel and the building on the corner of Spring and Bourke streets.

Importantly, the corner building, which was until recently home to a Hard Rock Cafe, will be replaced.

The 1961 design by Norris and Partners was never appropriate, except in raw terms of street scale. It is an ugly duckling, a building struggling for recognition in a region where grand buildings live alongside the Windsor – such as the Old Treasury building and the Victorian Parliament – so it will be no loss.

Looking east from Bourke street towards Parliament House, there will no detrimental effect. Brides and their grooms will still enjoy being photographed mid-track on tram route 96 with the legislature behind them. But more importantly, DCM’s new building for the corner is a gem.

It follows other ideas they have promoted recently for an abstract, simple, etched facade box, which sits above the ground, so it appears to float. The effect of this design, with an unspecific patterning,

is to distinguish it from the neighbouring traditional architecture.

It is also set back from the historic Windsor facade, which provides architectural clarity between the old and the new, and the new foyer is entered via that new "door". This building is important because it represents a solution to the urban design issues of the site. It provides a gatepost at the top end of Bourke Street and appears, rightly, to be a young relative of the original Windsor, not an old flouncer. The surface facade of this building is impressed with windows and openings making an abstract screen-printed pattern, which clearly establishes it as a distinct object against the traditional hotel’s rigorous neoclassical design.

Underneath, at pavement level, the corner has been set back to allow for a broader footpath, which will allow better access to Parliament station, creating a plaza with cafes and bars that will provide a sunlit new tourist precinct. On the roof of this new low-rise building will be a swimming pool that will hang over the laneway, similar to the one DCM designed at their Adelphi Hotel in Flinders Lane.

The trifecta of the design is the backdrop building, a thin one-room deep negligee of wavy glass, which has been treated so it is part transparent, part opaque and part translucent.

This is the architect’s big idea. They have taken the site as a huge stage set; the background building is a curtain, unembellished and softly shiny. It will protect the heritage building from the urban gaggle of structures behind it. The original Windsor building is being recovered, reinstated to its original role as a major piece of urban stage scenery on the street. The new tessellated corner structure joins it, separately and distinctly, and the curtain building is a foil for the real action. That leaves the citizens of Melbourne on the street as the main actors in this vast urban design production. Which is as it should be.

This proposal for the redevelopment of the Windsor is appropriate for Melbourne. The most valuable elements of our past that are contained in the original hotel are restored, and their values embraced by the new setting.

Norman Day is a practising architect, and adjunct professor of architecture at RMIT.
 

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i'd be completely happy for this to go ahead, provided that the building next to it is replaced with a replica of the Federal coffee palace:nuts:
 
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