In January 2014, a fire tore through one of Melbourne’s most well-known hospitality institutions. For the next 18 months, the site of the old Stokehouse restaurant and bar sat fenced off and unused – except by the builders who were working to bring a new vision of the venue to life.
The re-envisioned Stokehouse, open since late last year, is an entirely different building than the restored 1920s pavilion it replaces. The new build – a collaboration between Robert Simeoni Architects, TILT Industrial Design, the Van Haandel Group, and a number of interior architects – is taller, sleeker, and composed of entirely different forms and materials than the original.
When designs were first revealed to the public, the proposed 12-metre design for the new build drew the ire of locals, one of whom told The Age that it would be “a blot on the landscape”. Although the building is almost three metres taller than its predecessor, the council has defended the increase in height on the basis that it complies with new requirements for climate change-induced flooding and storm surges.