The Boroondara Community Health Centre occupied the former Hawthorn Post Office for over a decade until the increasing demand for community health services instigated a bold expansion plan.

Adding onto a heritage building is never easy. In this case the 1908 Romanesque Revival red brick and sandstone building also had an at-grade carpark to the rear, and the parking capacity had to be retained in any new development.

Rather than diminishing the presence of the heritage building by replicating its language, the new two storey extension, with carpark below, takes its cue from a previous brickwork addition built along the western boundary accommodating a café, and facing onto the civic plaza. The overall form is a gabled rectangle, clad in metal wall sheeting that extends over the roof to give a consistent and homogeneous appearance – reinforcing the object as a ‘box’.

Windows are arranged as vertical apertures, relating back to the proportions of the heritage Post Office. The openings along the west and east elevations set deep into the cladding, shading the glass and exposing colourful reveals. Windows on the south elevation are large picture windows, with views out through the existing eucalypts in the adjacent council car park.

Fencing around the site and car park is perforated metal sheet, screen printed with images of vegetation. In addition to screening the carpark and defining the site boundary, this ‘verdant’ fencing forms a base to the new extension; visually connecting the elevated building to the ground plane and playfully integrating with the surrounding greenery.

The expansion has created additional consulting rooms, offices and open plan workstation areas, enabling Boroondara Community Health Centre to continue delivering first class health services to the community.

Project Sheet

Project Summary

Inner East Community Health Service
Floor area
550 m²
Original value
Ruth Wilson