When: September 2014 – ongoing

Client: Victorian Trades Hall Council

Location: The 5-storey 1960s brick building, 54 Victoria St, Carlton South, 3053

Team: Michelle Emma James + Ammon Beyerle + Micha Woodhouse

“Designed by prominent architect Joseph Reed … The Trades Hall was one of Melbourne's most prestigious public buildings of the 1870s and 1880s.” (Trades Hall History - Renovation) Protected by the National Trust, it is the spiritual home of the Victorian Union movement, and is the world’s oldest Trade Union building. In recent years the building has started to re-open to cultural events, arts and entertainment, and to re-foster the seeds of new political and social movements in Melbourne.

“A completely restored Trades Hall will be a working asset, not only for unions, but also for the wider community.” (Trades Hall History - Renovation)

Unfortunately, many decades of poor finances, neglect and disrepair have deteriorated many of the buildings on the Trades Hall complex. The main building now requires significant renovation. One building on the Victorian Trades Hall site, just to the east of The Trades hall, is a 5-storey cream-brick office building built in the 1960s. It has a solid concrete structure with brick infill, good circulation (well-located lift and stairs), 13.5m-wide floor plates, full-bay single-glazed aluminium windows, and a leaking roof.

Since 2011, Ammon and Michelle have been quietly connected to The Trades Hall through Jacob Grech, the caretaker of The Trades Hall, and joined conversations about what could happen to revitalise its underused spaces (whilst working on the startup and design of Hub Melbourne). Involved in the Union Movement and starting up his own business soil test Melbourne, ideas for an engineering cooperative and a supporting a cooperative – Earth Worker Cooperative, Alejandro Rodriguez (re)connected with Ammon and Michelle in July 2014, and invited us to attend the first social-justice installation in August 2014 – a solar hot water unit in a Father Bob Foundation community house in St Kilda. There, Ammon met Matt Kunkel, Project Organiser in the Victorian Trades Hall Council responsible for venue hire.

here studio have been contracted to design another use and fitout for the 5-storey brick building. The current concept is to create a new home for left-leaning businesses, political and community organisations, including shared offices spaces for rent, studios, meeting rooms and event spaces. This could also be a source of revenue for Trades Hall. Starting with the 4th floor, we are currently working to a bare-minimum budget that would include the possibility of not-for-profit union labour. The current concept is clean and simple, with a hopeful-coloured, humble aesthetic of recycled materials and DIY-adaptable partitions, fittings and fixtures.

Concept design is now complete and the project is on hold until after the Victorian State Election.

(Last update 30/11/14)


When: September 2014 – ongoing

Client: Victorian Trades Hall Council

Location: The 5-storey 1960s brick building, 54 Victoria St, Carlton South, 3053

Team: Michelle Emma James + Ammon Beyerle + Micha Woodhouse

“Designed by prominent architect Joseph Reed … The Trades Hall was one of Melbourne's most prestigious public buildings of the 1870s and 1880s.” (Trades Hall History - Renovation) Protected by the National Trust, it is the spiritual home of the Victorian Union movement, and is the world’s oldest Trade Union building. In recent years the building has started to re-open to cultural events, arts and entertainment, and to re-foster the seeds of new political and social movements in Melbourne.

“A completely restored Trades Hall will be a working asset, not only for unions, but also for the wider community.” (Trades Hall History - Renovation)

Unfortunately, many decades of poor finances, neglect and disrepair have deteriorated many of the buildings on the Trades Hall complex. The main building now requires significant renovation. One building on the Victorian Trades Hall site, just to the east of The Trades hall, is a 5-storey cream-brick office building built in the 1960s. It has a solid concrete structure with brick infill, good circulation (well-located lift and stairs), 13.5m-wide floor plates, full-bay single-glazed aluminium windows, and a leaking roof.

Since 2011, Ammon and Michelle have been quietly connected to The Trades Hall through Jacob Grech, the caretaker of The Trades Hall, and joined conversations about what could happen to revitalise its underused spaces (whilst working on the startup and design of Hub Melbourne). Involved in the Union Movement and starting up his own business soil test Melbourne, ideas for an engineering cooperative and a supporting a cooperative – Earth Worker Cooperative, Alejandro Rodriguez (re)connected with Ammon and Michelle in July 2014, and invited us to attend the first social-justice installation in August 2014 – a solar hot water unit in a Father Bob Foundation community house in St Kilda. There, Ammon met Matt Kunkel, Project Organiser in the Victorian Trades Hall Council responsible for venue hire.

here studio have been contracted to design another use and fitout for the 5-storey brick building. The current concept is to create a new home for left-leaning businesses, political and community organisations, including shared offices spaces for rent, studios, meeting rooms and event spaces. This could also be a source of revenue for Trades Hall. Starting with the 4th floor, we are currently working to a bare-minimum budget that would include the possibility of not-for-profit union labour. The current concept is clean and simple, with a hopeful-coloured, humble aesthetic of recycled materials and DIY-adaptable partitions, fittings and fixtures.

Concept design is now complete and the project is on hold until after the Victorian State Election.

(Last update 30/11/14)