Text description provided by the architects. The building at 75 Myrtle Street is significant for its association with the nineteenth and early twentieth century industrial activities that took place in Chippendale. The two storey inter-war factory building located at 75 Myrtle Street, Chippendale was constructed c1925 for J.C. Goodwin & Co Ltd, glass importers, bevellers and silverers, who were first established in Chippendale in 1875 in a factory on Abercrombie Street. The building has now been remodeled into three purpose built offices located either side of a central courtyard. The Brief called for one large and two small tenancies, the larger tenancy to be accessible via Myrtle Street and the two smaller tenancies to be accessed from the rear of the building, via Dangar Place. Centrally located is a sunlit and naturally ventilated courtyard which features a contemporary cacti and succulent garden that melds with the surrounding pixelated paving. The courtyard has its own structural order, based on the range of glass types used, which links the building to the site’s former factory use. This order is set against the existing structure.
The differences between the two structural systems are celebrated throughout the entire project with existing renders in ochre coloured steel. The extent of new work to the exterior of the existing building, in line with the clients wishes, has deliberately been played down to both the street and rear lane and repaired in line with its historic facade, offering few clues to the building’s new interior. Apart from the steel staircase, which was painted in high gloss, subtly reflective black paint, all materials used throughout 75 Myrtle Street were left in their natural form – creating a raw and subdued pallet, rich in character, honesty and substance. The highly textured herringbone oak floor used throughout both compliments and contrasts with the galvanised pressed metal ceiling. The glass bricks create an impressive yet understated statement, projecting a black lit tone whilst capturing and reflecting the subtle changes in natural light throughout the day. The stripped back nature of the interior also serves as the perfect canvas for the clients’ art collection, injecting vibrant colour, alternate meanings and excitement into the space.
The largest office space that fronts Myrtle Street sits on ground level and includes an entertaining and meeting area with the capacity to accommodate 100 guests. The ground floor spaces are deliberately grand to cater for large convivial groups, whilst the upstairs offices are intentionally withdrawn, a place for more intimate and private meetings. The architectural principle here is the introduction of an elegant contemporary architecture, in refined and sophisticated materials, as a new ‘layer’ to the original rustic structure. This simultaneous presentation of two generations of building, in juxtaposition and layering, leads to a visually rich composition, a ‘third architecture’. New and old are intertwined in a frozen dance.