Apartments in wool’s clothing: high-density living inserted into iconic WA wool stores
36 Queen Victoria Street Fremantle WA 6160
The Dalgety Wool Stores in Fremantle is a local landmark; an important link to a significant period in the city's economic and social history. So, when it came to re-purposing the 1922-built, four-level brick and iron warehouse, it was essential to respect the building’s – and the area’s – rich heritage.
Designed by Perth-based architecture firm, Cameron Chisholm Nicol, the conversion of the warehouse relied on what the architects have called, a “minimal-intervention approach”. As a result, the ‘Heirloom by Match’ multi-residential project has retained most of the existing structure. All 183 apartments have been inserted entirely inside the building’s original fabric.
But this didn’t come easy. “Many of the existing structural elements are not square, making the task a complex one,” says the architects.
The layout of apartments was based on the location of existing jarrah beams. These columns were transformed into flooring and ceiling joists, and feature timber beams.
In addition to these existing structural elements, the re-design features exposed brickwork and floorboards. The original brickwork was restored and is highlighted throughout the project, whether this be the building’s façade or the exposed bricks within the apartments’ interiors.
On the other hand, existing floorboards are exposed to the apartment below and becomes a finished ceiling. A new floor above provides fire and acoustic separation, with services in the void.
A further feature is the building’s unique sawtooth roof structure, which was retained and adapted. Two atriums were created by removing sections of this roof and the building’s flooring. These atriums allow light and ventilation to penetrate all dwellings, while also serving a spatial benefit. By breaking up the space, the architects were able to separate the development into three distinct residential blocks.
New aluminium windows were inserted to habitable spaces, and window openings to balconies were left unglazed to create protected outdoor space.
Heirloom by Match received a Commendation in the Residential Architecture – Houses (Multiple Housing) category at the 2017 Western Australian Architecture Awards. As noted by the jury, the project is “an epic achievement of patience, determination and sound judgement”.