The new locomotive workshop was originally constructed in 1907 for the manufacture of steam locomotives and is one of a group of historically significant late Victorian / early Federation industrial buildings. The project involved the construction of two additional floors within the single-story building to accommodate creative, yet highly functional, research, laboratory and office space to incubate start-up companies with advanced technologies related to the creation of new biomedical and biomechanical products.
The idea was to touch the existing building fabric as little as possible, to expose the original structure by leaving brickwork unpainted and the roof support system and south lighting visible and to retain features such as the traveling crane and rails and hand basin facilities as exhibits demonstrating the previous use of the building. A focus was created around the centre row of elegant paired cast-iron columns, the capital blocks that support massive crane beams running the length of the building that in turn carry rails that guide and support the overhead traveling cranes. The two new floors step back from this central void creating galleries at each level that provide access to the tenancies on those levels. The interstitial space created forms a central atrium that allows both visitors and tenants to appreciate the scale and form of the original building.
People love working in this stimulating environment. They really enjoy seeing the old building up close and connect at some level with the notion that the building remains as relevant today as it ever has been in its service of mankind.