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St Kilda pier kiosk

Earlier in the week the landmark 99 year old kiosk at the end of Saint Kilda pier burnt down. Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks declared in the age yesterday that, "The reconstruction, which will be done as quickly as possible, will be done in accordance with the heritage requirements of the pier."

Later in the article: "The National Trust has predicted there will be debate over whether the original Victorian building should be replicated."

There will be a lot of locals wanting instant reconstruction of an identical building, feeling robbed of part of their history. It was also a unique example in Australia of its type. This crowd could look to the example of the West Pier in Brighton England, which has suffered both a fire and partial collapse in the past year. The powers that be have decided to restore the 1866 pier to its 1920 state, and throw a commercial building or two at the entry to the pier in order to make a buck out of it.


Yet this could be an opportunity for a significant contemporary structure that says more about St Kilda now than a victorian replica ever could.


  • edited January 1970
    I notice there was an article in the age saying the Port Philip Council is definitely going to build a replica and they don't get what the fuss is about. The National Trust said though that they wanted to look at all the options, including a 21st century building. Interesting that the council has a more fixed idea about what heritage means than the usually very conservative Nat Trust.
  • edited January 1970
    My vote goes to re-building Kirby's exactly as it was before the fire. Why? Because I don't trust the City of Port Phillip. They will undoubtedly f*** up any new development on the pier. I mean, has everyone forgotten about the St Kilda Sea Baths? What a disaster.
  • edited January 1970
    A competition should be held for a new design to replace the St Kilda Pier Kiosk. In another 99 years, people should be able to see examples of design from 2003, not from 1904. Afterall, it was a modern building when first built. There are enough records and photographs of the original that it would not be forgotten. If we keep repeating olde worlde designs, as happens with a lot of housing, there will be no heritage worth preserving of our own era.
  • edited March 2005
    The original 1904 plans were found recently at a rubbish tip!

    " The Queenscliff Maritime Museum plans to see the kiosk return to its former glory, right down to the last lick of paint, after the plans were handed to them last year."

    Herald Sun 14 September
  • edited March 2004
    I got to read the Expressions of Interest paper put out by Parks Victoria the other day. EOIs are due by December 10. It looks pretty gloomy for anyone wanting a new kiosk judged by its design, ie via a competition. Instead 'architectural consultants' are being sought like any other consultant, you have to give information on your turnover, and whether you have a QA system. The design does not form part of the submission, that would happen at a later date. While stating that they would not be seeking a replica, they say they will provide details, photos and plans of the previous building so that things like window details can be copied. They seem to want what was there, but it has to be made of newer materials that would last 50 years (not weatherboard) and they want the new building to obey all DDA and BCA codes, and roof safety standards. It has to fulfil all modern functional requirements yet use the same footprint as previously. If thjey don't like what you come up with they reserve the right to kick you out. Dodgy. Expect a mangled Caroline Springs version of what was there before. Should keep the Premier happy I guess, but what a waste of an opportunity.
  • edited January 1970
    This is terrible news.

    I would much prefer to see them build a faithful replica of Kirbys Kiosk.
  • edited January 1970
    Would lov to see the replica of the building but i had to say that the interior of the building was pretty run down when i first went in, thought that it would be a nice place to hang out but disappointed by e sight of it.

    exterior to be of the old kiosk, interior to be ultimate modern to catch up with the 21st century!

    would be a nice place if they dun sell junk snacky food, great for cafe/lounges
  • edited January 1970
    but why would you build the outside ye olde worlde and do a minimal mod interior? What kind of signal is that sending out (as John Howard would say...)? It's OK to be zappy and smart and loungey on the inside as long as you don't let any poor tourists know - though they'd figure out when they came in looking for an ice cream.

    I think make the whole thing in cutesy fake victoriana (see Caroline Springs) or throw caution to the Port Philip wind and go 2004, whatever that might be. I know its reaching a bit, but imagine the Syd Op House contender being told to refer back to the tram sheds(?) because people were used to the look of them. [/i]
  • edited June 2004
    As spied in a local rag today, Allom Lovell Architects have been chosen to redo the old kiosk, only it won't be old anymore, and it will have disabled access, bigger foundations, and no doubt fire retardent paint. And so life will get back to normal and we'll forget it's a fake. Still if anyone had to do it, I'm glad it's them.
  • edited January 1970
    allom lovell gets to produce another mystic lump of crud.
  • edited January 1970
    Fake Edwardian [St Kilda pier] vs fake Liebeskind [Federation Square], what's the difference?
  • edited January 1970
    fed sq isn't a facsimile of another building
  • edited January 1970
    Anonymous wrote:
    fed sq isn't a facsimile of another building

    its not a fascimile - but the architects were under a spell.
  • edited January 1970
    The Age siad yesterday, "The facade will remain the same but Parks Victoria said the interior would be modernised. The rebuilt kiosk is expected to be finished by April or May next year." They then went up Swanston Street and asked for comment from Dimity Reed and Miles Lewis. Miles said,
    "It shows some sort of serious psychological problem on the part of the people who want to have irrelevant styles. We want better conservation of real things and no fake conservation."

    Today, the letters page was fairly buzzing. Phillip Schemnitz, architect:
    "To suggest that the rebuilding of the kiosk represents some sort of architectural travesty that condones the building of mock Edwardian houses in the suburbs is to stretch the bow a bit too far. And the arbiters of taste should, for a moment at least, break out of the sort of lock-step, forelock-tugging, backward- thinking mind-set that was responsible for the decimation of significant parts of cities like London and our own "Paris end" of Collins Street in the 1960s - in the name of progress - and learn to embrace diversity, richness, historical importance and pluralism."
  • edited January 1970
    :idea: Whack up a Bunnings Gazebo................
  • edited October 2008
    :idea: Better still get the crew from 'Secret Life of Us' to do a 'reality' show and get a 'chick' or two in skimpy shorts.........The 'opportunities ' are endless. Get Phillip Schemnitz to compare it. He seems to be qualified, just ask him.....
  • edited January 1970
    i tend to think that if they're going to build a replica building, they should really be faithful about it, so it should be complete with poorly functioning edwardian interior. because to think that an architectural movement is purely about 'style' is a mistake.

    and no phillip schemnitz, just because quite a few people want to build something new, it does not mean that we didn't think the old building wasn't great, but it's gone. if architecture is a representation of the time in which it was built, built culture perhaps, what does it say about our particular culture that we're electing to replicate the past? not that we're trying to preserve the past, but that we're trying to replicate it, because they're entirely different issues.
  • edited January 1970
    why build anything - its not like there is a great void to be filled. its a pointless project that will keep some **** faced chattering architects occupied for a while.

    [expletive deleted - moderator]
  • edited January 1970
    Oh, how lucid..............
  • edited January 1970
    mark_melb wrote:
    Oh, how lucid..............

    it's as lucid as any of the posts on this wank forum - especially your side splitting comment.
  • edited January 1970
    Is he gone now?
  • edited January 1970
    This forum thread is getting just a little sour, so to help things along, Port Philip Mayor Dick Gross has gotten in on the act spectacularly. Yesterday he labelled anyone who criticised the thoughtless and kneejerk proposition to replicate the kiosk "design nazis". His offensive and cryptic comments in yesterday's Age leave me wondering what other influences this man is having on the built environment of St Kilda and its surrounds.
    "I think that the Government was brave to take on the design nazis who insisted that we have a monstrosity at the end of our beloved pier," he said.

    "Fabric comes and fabric goes, but if you rebuild it, it still is, in terms of expectations, understanding, love and appreciation, the same building. And this is what we have here. The design mixes old and new in a way that is completely appropriate and exciting,"

    This is not the same building Mr Gross, in australian culture to copy like this is to fake it. This will be a building pretending to be 100 years old. It will confuse and degrade the authenticity of the rest of the 19th century fabric in the area, all for reasons of nostalgia and fear of alienating local voters.

    The preferable response would be to wait a good while for the tears to dry, open the debate up, have a real architectural competition, consult with the public, and build something meaningful, practical, and contemporary.

    PS Does Mr Gross not realise that he is mayor of South Melbourne, which is fast becoming Melbourne's design industry ghetto? Doesn't sound like it.
  • edited January 1970
    I am all for pluralism, but tearing down old buildings in the name of 'progress' is a bit different to developing a site that has been cleared by an unforseen disaster. I thought this Terrance Quinlan 'lets make it look old & not offend anyone' mentality went out in the 80's. Its time to move on.

    And trendy cafe/lounges instead of junkfood. Now that is something that St.Kilda really needs more of.
  • edited January 1970
    On a recent visit to Brisbane, I was quite suprised by the CityCat ferry terminals, like Bulimba and Hawthorne. It seems that each of these terminals, built as late as a few years ago, is designed in an mock Edwardian almost like little replicas of the St Kilda Pier (which also has a Wililamstown ferry terminal). This is post-modernism gone mad, but the tourists love it. Because the wooden construction is not overly expensive, and fits with the wooden structures of the area, it almost pulls it off with an air of authenticity.

    My jury is still out on these structures, because I know that they are new, the Brisbane structures look tacky to me, but to anyone else, they would just be impressed by a sense of history that never existed before. This is especially the case, because Brisbane can use them to portray the image of embracing the river since the turn of the century - something that really only started nearly 100 years later, in 1988, for World Expo.

    I think it is far more moral for St Kilda to replace its icon than for post-modernism in places like Brisbane, which try to create a sense of history, because it doesn't exist.
  • edited January 1970

    I've just found the PDF of Allom Lovell's design, released in late November. It can be accessed from this page:

    First to explain what the large "sculptural art form" protruding like a bowspit from the end of the pier gets a paddle pop (should we find a sponsor).

    Interestingly, while the original kiosk is to be copycat 19th C kiosk, the rest of the development (where it faces the sea) will be a very neutral "I'm not really here" modern box. Isn't it peculiar for a Victorian heritage building and its modern extension to be built at the same time.

    Because the box at the back is quite a lot bigger than the kiosk element, you could reverse this thinking and say the development is really a modern box with an elaborate heritage facade masking it from public view. All to satisfy politicians who think '
    contemporary' means 'offensive'.

    Something else I dredged from the web, this time from the Millward Brown "St Kilda Kiosk
    Qualitative Research Summary Report"
    Restore the Kiosk in keeping with the original building:
    An appreciation of the heritage of the Kiosk and its important role in the history,
    recreation, and traditions of St Kilda, is important for residents, both those who have
    lived in the area for a long time and more recently. The architecture and shape of the
    building should ideally reflect its role in the history of St Kilda, and be in keeping with
    the look of the original building.
    “They can modernise it, if keeping outside inside can have a nostalgic feel in a
    modern way.”
    (Group 1 – Kiosk Users)

  • edited January 1970
    Digging ever deeper, I have discovered David Moloney's huge St Kilda Pier Kiosk Conservation Management Plan, April 2004:. 6MB available here as a PDF:

    I was most surprised to find on page 206 references to this very forum thread. So members Dharma Bum, Rayk and myself are quoted in the report. What goes around...

    Have not read the whole report yet, but scooting about in the appendices I have found reference to the reports own author, who is view is described in the third person:

    "Reconstruct it as accurately as possible he believes. He grieves each time he sees that
  • edited January 1970
    yep, I was suprised to find Walking Melbourne forum quoted in it also ...

    Seems to be a common thing to do these days in government reports as a means of gauging the vox populi
  • edited January 1970
    Photos of the replicant in contsruction can be found here:
  • edited January 1970
    I'm still afraid to go down there, as it almost brings a tear to my eye.

    I'll be happy to return once the work is all finished.
  • edited January 1970
    I guess this means we're unlikely to get a design competition. Thanks to Peter White for the photos.


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