Swinburne is bringing its Innovation Precinct headquarters to life behind the red brick facade of a historic fire station on its Hawthorn campus.
The $7 million redevelopment includes a total restoration of the original station, built in 1910, and a modern four-storey extension.
Scheduled to finish in December 2017, the repurposed building will feature one thousand square metres of space dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial activity at the university.
The project is being led by Melbourne firm H2O Architects—the designers of Swinburne’s Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC), the first institutional project in Australia to earn a 5-star rating from Green Star.
H2O director Mark O’Dwyer says the restoration of heritage buildings is critical in building a future that is “diverse and inclusive”.
“Heritage buildings have the past embedded in their fabric and the past has the potential to inform the present, and future, in interesting, surprising and useful ways.
“This is especially important for a place of learning, investigation, research and innovation.”
In a nod to its 87 years as Hawthorn Fire Station—it was decommissioned in 1997—the building, on William Street, is to be called The Fire Station.
It will be home to a business incubator and acceleration program; an entrepreneur-in-residence; IP clinic; coworking, prototyping and collaboration spaces; and Design Factory Melbourne.
“The Fire Station is to be the front door to research-led innovation and commercialisation across the whole of the university,” says Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic.
“It will be a central point for connecting our research and innovation capabilities and a place for our staff and students to collaborate with industry, solve challenges, and produce commercial outcomes.”
Swinburne Innovation Precinct, announced in 2016, has a focus on translating research into new technology, products and services that have social and economic impact.