Melbourne based manufacturer Windows on the World created bespoke steel windows and doors for the newly renovated Barry Cafe in Melbourne.
Now open for business, Barry Cafe features a façade of Green Tea coloured steel louvers and a counterweighted steel window frame that lifts up and engages the new café with the streetscape.

The cafe owners sought the professional services of Melbourne-based architects Techné to renovate an old Victorian shop built at the turn of the century. Techné Project Architect Alex Lake said the biggest challenges were the budget, the flexibility to operate within all seasons of Melbourne weather, maximising internal natural light, and addressing the requirements of a side door entrance while maintaining the heritage character of the building.

The brief required the architects to unify the circulation of the café under one distinct entrance rather than the original three entry doors. A range of window types was utilised to address these challenges, including a combination of operable sash movements, louvers and fixed glazing. Fixed bench seating was integrated into the shopfront glazing to promote street activation and to capitalise on the operable façade during warmer seasons.

Windows on the World created bespoke steel frames to meet the architect’s brief. The design required counterweighted lift-up steel window panels for the façade, but there was a significant challenge for the manufacturers as there wasn’t sufficient room to accommodate the counterweights in the spaces on either side of the panels.
To overcome the issue, the team devised a system of ropes, pulleys and counterweights that were exposed in the structure of the ceiling to enable these windows to easily move up and down. 

Using steel glazing was in character with the heritage component of the design and a custom powder coat colour was chosen to both tie in with the existing context and the proposed new works. Windows on the World Director Charlotte Atkinson explained that choosing a colour for the steel window powder coating presented two challenges: One was to maintain the heritage character of the building, and the second was to tie in with the Laminex Bay Leaf and timber that had been chosen for much of the interior of the café.

Windows on the World recommended a beautiful colour called Green Tea from the Dulux Electro Powder Coating range, with all hardware in raw brass that will age with use. 

Procurement Manager James Pettigrew of Bear Projects, who were the builders on the renovation, commented that he preferred building with steel windows as one could get a much higher grade finish than with aluminium.