Project three

Leonard Joel Auctioneers at Hawksburn

Conversion of the former Hawksburn Primary School, a local landmark that stood empty for three years following its State Government closure in 1993, has strengthened the status of this historic 1873 building as a local landmark while providing auction rooms and a business centre for Leonard Joel Australia.

The client set a challenging brief, requiring suitable accommodation for weekly auctions of household goods, for specialist art and jewellery auctions, and for offices and administration. The pedestrian traffic, involving crowds of people and truckloads of bulky furniture, is as unremitting as it was in the days when the school accommodated more than 1000 young pupils, and the building copes with it brilliantly.

The conversion balances a viable new use with a proper approach to recycling that accommodates both history and the needs of today’s commercial world. It retains what has always been a people-oriented building for accessibility by the general public.

The building was recognised by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) with a citation award for Conservation in 1996. It was the category winner for Refurbished Buildings in the 1997 Property Council of Australia Awards.