- Heritage Architects:Ruth Daniells
The desire to reflect the existing roof structure as an internal volume led to locating the bedrooms at ground level and creating a double height living space at first floor level. Exposing existing timbers and original corrugated roof linings tells of the building’s origins. Combining this with the new timber linings – inspired by childhood memories of being beneath an upturned boat – evokes the maritime heritage, not just of the building, but of the city itself.
While the bedrooms relate to the building’s shoreline location, upstairs, an incision in the existing roof looks to the city skyline on the opposite shore, framing a view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
The whole building harnesses unique quality of light in Sydney Harbour. Light is drawn deep into the plan through the roof incisions and the atrium, and then reflected off carefully chosen materials – glass tiles in the bathrooms, polished concrete floor - and the water in the bay outside.
The nature of the existing building presented a unique set of challenges both in terms of heritage considerations and construction processes.
The painstaking restoration was carried out in close coordination with the builder, with the design evolving throughout the duration of the works. The result was that the documentation and construction processes took place side by side. The additions to the building’s interior over a period of many years meant that it was only when the building was stripped back to its original elements that we could understand the detailing and construction requirements. The extent to which the building’s structure had distorted over the years also meant that no two details are the same. The result was a drawn out and time consuming process, but one that ensured the highest standards of detailing and construction.
Likewise, the DA approvals took place in conjunction with design, documentation and building work. The building’s heritage status meant strict conditions on what we could or couldn’t do and we had to seek a number of approvals throughout the course of the project. The interventions we made both respect and reflect the building’s maritime history while at the same time enhance the building’s use as a residential property over the coming years.