An impressive seventy eight per cent of students enrolled at the Australian Ballet School are from overseas and interstate, with some students as young as 13, have had to relocate to Melbourne with their families and in order to pursue their dreams of becoming a dancer. Now they have the option of taking advantage of the school’s new boarding residence, a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne Mansion. Marilyn Rowe House as it is known, has been set up in conjunction with the Australian Boarding Schools Association and provides a safe and secure residential environment for up to 37 ballet school students, currently aged from 13 to 18 years old.
Extensively renovated, it features a formal lounge with many original features retained, seven bedrooms arranged in different configurations, a new commercial kitchen and dining area, a larger common room and enclosed outdoor area with barbecue.
During the $8million refurbishment of the mansion, Umow Lai was engaged to provide a range of engineering and sustainability services.
One of the focuses of their work was aimed at improving energy efficiency; some of these were based on energy modelling of the building to ensure the attractive northerly views were maintained without need for external shading.
“We worked closely with the team including Root Projects and MGS architects to provide an integrated design that compliments the architectural treatment, integrating the new building extension and refurbished areas,” noted Andrew Oxley, a director at Umow Lai who led the consultancy’s project team. “We had to consider the fire safety, ventilation, lighting and even the selection of glazing elements to ensure that the School’s functional requirements were satisfied.”
The Australian Ballet School received a $1million Federal grant towards the $4.8million house, situated at 262 The Avenue, Parkville, with direct access by public transport to the Australian Ballet School’s Southbank headquarters.
Note: Marilyn Row House was officially opened by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honorable Sir Peter Cosgrove – Patron of the Australian Ballet, and Lady Cosgrove, on 30 January, 2016.