Shambles Brewery is, well, anything but a shambles. With Australia’s bustling craft beer market home to an array of enthusiasts vying for relevancy, this Hobart brewery is living proof that in a world of tight budgets, architecture still rings true, irrespective of dollars. Room11 Architects have created a place of contemporary chic, juxtaposed with the honest, raw textures of concrete blocks and timber.
The three founders of Shambles, like many in the beer game, wanted to do it their way. To develop a group of sherbets that catered for a market with an eclectic palette. In an effort to turn hops, malt, yeast and water into the ideal drop, most of the expenditure was dedicated to the brewing process. With little coinage left in the pocket for the design of the brewery, Shambles turned to Room11, who were able to work within the confines of a budget that asked for creative thinking, in an effort to fit out the room properly, despite the financial challenges faced.
The brewery is part of a wider collective that is bringing the people back to Hobart. Congruent with the points and principles of a strategic urban renewal plan along Elizabeth Street, the brewery is part of a range of new bars, restaurants and student accommodation facilities that are giving the street a new lease on life. Room11 says that the project is a cog in the wheel that is part of a renewed interest in living, working, eating and drinking in inner Hobart.
The brewery site itself was a former butchery that was an ideal candidate for a remodelling thanks to its open, clear-spanned structure, due to the need to accommodate the equipment required for brewing. Room11 set about devising a plan that respected the character of the building, effectively adapting the existing fabric with a simple, honest palette that consists of steel, blocks and black paint. At the street, frontage tables are set adjacent to the main bar, where a refrigeration unit has been cleverly repurposed as a container for firewood.
The utility spaces and bathrooms feature screens of fenestrated block-work, creating a light-play within the interior. Cantilevered core filled 20.01 blocks on the wall provide structure and form, and also double as tables, that support the headline act of Shambles, the beer.
Beyond the core, the shiny stainless steel machinations of brewing are showcased against a gritty block-work frame. The brewing equipment creates a spectacular backdrop for a monumental communal table upon massive stack blond block-work plinth.
The theater of technical brewing equipment and the skillful deployment of simple, honest materials creates a robust interior suitable for the significant demands of hospitality use. Room11 have crafted a space that reflects the ideals of Shambles, and ensures that the beer is very much the focal point of the building, with the brewing instruments on show and concrete block tables ensuring that the glass of gold is the splash of colour amongst the interiors. The brewery is explained as a small part of the Elizabeth Street revival, but it's design most certainly says otherwise.