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Commendation Brookman Building Conservation Works - Grieve Gillett

The Brookman Building foundation stone was laid in 1900 and the building opened in 1903 to accommodate the South Australian School of Mines and Industries. The building now provides the focus for the City East Campus of the University of South Australia. The building was in sound condition but embedded metalwork in the parapets was causing stonework to become dislodged and creating a public risk. The University undertook to address the parapet problem, improve the seismic stability of the building, clean and stabilize external masonry, renew the damp proof course and improve the drainage of the window wells at the base of the building.

The Architects scoped and documented the conservation works in accordance with the Australian ICOMOS Burra Charter conservation principles, in consultation with materials conservator and engineers. Conservation of the stonework has been undertaken with care to minimize disruption. Where required, stonework was dismantled, numbered and reassembled. Embedded metalwork has been removed and structural upgrades have been implemented unobtrusively with a view to longevity.

Mortars and shelter coats are of traditional lime putty based mixes to ensure breathability and moisture balance of existing masonry building fabric. Facades were treated with biocide to remove organic growths and were then cleaned using glass bead vortex blasting.

Conservation works, carried out over 2008/09, were undertaken with an understanding of the need to alter as little as possible to maintain heritage significance. Where physical intervention was required, design solutions were based on traditional building methodologies, robustness of detailing, reversibility and sensitivity to the heritage values of the building.

The restoration of the Brookman Building has increased the vibrancy and visual amenity on this significant North Terrace corner. The jury appreciated the care and detail required to restore this building to its former glory and bring it into line with current standards. Conservation work of this nature requires an understanding of materials and building processes in order to provide a seamless and authentic outcome. The building owners and Architects are to be commended for bringing a previously hidden building back to life. The upgraded Brookman Building now provides a significant heritage asset to Adelaide’s cultural boulevard.