Angelo Candalepas, Candalepas Associates (2017, adaptation and restoration)
It’s not often that small and modest buildings of a large city offer a clear and unfettered lens into the past. When they do, they enable us to both better understand our current situation as well as that of times past. Candalepas Associates sought to maintain this focus when adapting a turn-of-the-century inner-Sydney industrial warehouse into their own architectural studio.
The narrow four-storey brick and timber warehouse on Sussex Street in Sydney’s CBD tells a story of small-scale inner-city manufacturing through the 20th century (first occupied by a bedding manufacturer, Bruton & Wheeler and most recently by an agricultural equipment manufacturer and wholesaler).
The construction work to adapt the building began in 2015, with Candalepas Associates occupying the building in early 2016. From street level, the original facade openings and building fabric appear only slightly augmented. Inside, the original floor-to-floor heights have been maintained along with a refurbishment of the existing façade openings. These openings allow for significant amounts of daylight to penetrate into the work areas along with natural cross ventilation for summer cooling.
The original circulation routes within the building have been maintained: the staircase is original, and a new lift operates within the old lift well. Additional structure and services have been carefully inserted to either complement the existing or to be hidden out of sight.
From the ground floor entry and meeting area to the upstairs studio work areas, each zone reads as a subtle insertion into the old. The masonry walls are celebrated along with the robust timber framing and flooring. New additions are expressed with a natural material palette such as hardwood trimming and plywood panelling. New detail areas such as the kitchen and small meeting areas are considered as joinery objects sitting sympathetically separate from the existing warehouse form.
To keep the original timber framing visible, additional fire safety measures were developed. This expression of the building’s structure, say the architects, links us to the key ideas behind the original building’s design, how building loads are displaced, and greater truths in architectural expression.
As a practice, Candalepas has perfected the art of enduring architecture through its peerless combinations of robust forms with complimentary delicate moments of detail. This is evident in the recently unveiled (stage one) AIM Mosque in Punchbowl, Sydney. A visit to this studio allows one both a window into the past as well as into the practice of insightful architecture.
Candalepas Associates’ studio, including the ground level boardroom and offices on levels 1 and 2
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