2017 Angelo Candalepas, Candalepas Associates – adaptation and restoration
It’s not often that the small and modest buildings of a city offer a clear and unfettered lens to the past. When they do, they become powerfully connected to the present. Candalepas Associates sought to do just that in converting a turn-of-the-century inner-Sydney industrial warehouse into their own architectural studio.
The narrow four-storey brick warehouse on Sussex Street tells the story of small Australian manufacturers through the 20th century, having been occupied first by a bedding manufacturer — Bruton & Wheeler — and most recently by an agricultural equipment manufacturer and wholesaler.
Candalepas Associates transformed the building throughout 2015, and has occupied it since early 2016. Although the building was not a heritage item, the architects sought to extend its patterns of use while keeping faith with its past.
From street level, the original facade openings and building fabric appear only slightly augmented for contemporary use. Inside, maintaining the original floor-to-floor heights has achieved high levels of daylight for a crisp new interior, within the lofty industrial shell.
The original circulation routes are maintained: the staircase is original and a new lift operates within the old liftwell. Additional structure and services sit alongside the existing, to minimise the impacts of building modification.
From the ground floor reception and light-filled meeting room to the upstairs workspaces, each new zone reads as a subtle insertion. The brick walls are celebrated and structural timber and floorboards exposed. New additions are expressed in basic materials such as hardwood and ply, considered as joinery elements from the tradition of carpentry that defined the building.
To keep the original timber framing visible, additional fire protection measures were developed. This, say the architects, links us to the key ideas behind the original design, as well as how building loads are displaced – an important lesson from the past.
As a practice, Candalepas has perfected the art of enduring architecture through its peerless combinations of brute strength and refinement of detail, elegantly expressed in their recently unveiled Mosque in Punchbowl. A visit to this studio reveals firsthand the design language and sensibilities of an important Sydney practice that’s both of its time and ahead of it.
Candalepas Associates’ studio, including the ground level boardroom and offices on levels 1 and 2