When working with derelict industrial buildings, some architects prefer tearing them down completely to make way for the nouveau et moderne. Others, however, prefer to deconstruct further, as was the case of a new creative precinct in Sydney.
Located in Redfern, 16 Eveleigh is the brainchild of Beau Neilson and Jeffrey Simpson, who are no strangers to breathing life to abandoned, forgotten warehouses. The brief they gave Atelier Andy Carson was straightforward: build a space that already exists, where minds across a variety of arts and creative industries can come together to collaborate.
“It was important to the owners to not succumb to demolishing the building or erase the history of manufacturing in the area,” the design team, led by Andy Carson, tells A&D.
“Surely we should be investing in such beautiful old buildings, with refurbishment ensuring another 100 years of productive life.”
Armed with stories of what the site once was, the architects took cues from the building’s original tenants, The Wearproof Hosiery and Sheldon Leather Goods, and their desire to “produce quality at the centre of their thinking”. It wasn’t long before the team knew they wanted to inject this underlying philosophy of ‘quality and creativity’ into the spaces, and transmit it to the building’s new inhabitants.
This is done in a number of ways, the most obvious being the inclusion of original artworks commissioned by the building owners that serve as reminders of the building’s past, as if to say – don’t forget what was created here when you are creating. The ‘Lucky Penny’ artwork, designed by Vince Frost of Frost Collective – a building tenant, and the ‘Secret of their merit…’ mural by Redfern artist Gemma O’Brien both reference the building’s early tenants.
Top: The ‘Secret of their merit…’ mural by Redfern artist Gemma O’Brien
Above: The ‘Lucky Penny’ artwork, designed by Vince Frost of Frost Collective. Image: Instagram
And then there are the architecture design details, which work together to create a light-filled, rustic and undone atmosphere that is common of today’s warehouse conversions. But there is a reason why this narrative is effective. The original building’s deep and dark floorplates, for instance, were a real design challenge that if left alone, would detract from the space’s purpose.
“There was limited natural light to more than half of the floorplates, in fact the northern light was blocked by a single height enclosed storage room,” Atelier Andy Carson explains.
“Another issue was arranging the primary circulation paths adequately for maximum efficiency to each tenancy. Both of these issues where overcome, by deciding to remove the roof off the single height storage room - in turn creating a double height outdoor courtyard,” they add.
“It was now possible to create openings around the perimeter of the courtyard, introducing natural light to and from these spaces. The primary circulation paths were then arranged so as to pass the landscaped courtyard offering glimpses of greenery, making activated and social spaces. The introduction of a cantilevered glass awning structure and mature Manchurian pear tree also offer dappled light and provide a sense of season to the occupants.”
The architects removed the roof of the old single height storage and created a double height outdoor courtyard where new spaces could articulate and gather light from.
New steel was left raw to patina, still bearing exposed tool marks, barcodes and builder’s notes
Dismantled floor joists were reassembled into glass partition walls, and old structural steel refurbished and arranged as new lintels.
The introduction of a cantilevered glass awning structure and mature Manchurian pear tree offer dappled light
Apart from making sure the building would not just house a new wave of occupants, but make their stay comfortable, and their work efficient and effective, the team also decided to celebrate the use of construction and industry materials, which helped highlight the importance of process and character.
New steel was left raw to patina, still bearing exposed tool marks, barcodes and builder’s notes. Industrial relics were left in situ. Dismantled floor joists were reassembled into glass partition walls, and old structural steel refurbished and arranged as new lintels. Oriented Strand Board (OSB), which is usually covered up inside walls, is used as a finished wall cladding and precisely detailed with expressed shadowlines.
French oak floorboards, crisp white plaster ceilings and fine light fittings act as points of contrast (and refinement) to the crude existing masonry, where surfaces were stripped back via soda blasting to “reveal 100 odd years of the battle scars of industry”.
Meanwhile, bespoke design elements occur at a range of scales, from the folded steel cabinet pulls, to the feature stairs, balustrade, glass lift tower and feature lighting.
The new design also comes with a garden courtyard, which is shared by building tenants as well as the general public via an on-site café (Henry Lee’s) and the Cake Wine Cellar Door. This courtyard acts as the link between what goes on behind doors and the outside world, joining with the overall design to “connect people, reference and re-interpret the past with the new creativity from the area”.
INTERNAL FEATURE CLADDING
OSB (ORIENTED STRAND BOARD) BRACE BOARD, USED AS A FINISHED WALL CLADDING
ORIGINAL MASONRY WALLS SODA BLASTED
RECYCLED BRICK FOR REMEDIAL WORKS
EXPRESSED COPPER CONDUIT THROUGHOUT, AND CUSTOMISED COPPER TAPWARE
BESPOKE STEEL CABINET PULLS
BESPOKE RAW STEEL BALUSTRADES, STAIRS AND LIFT TOWER
INLITE SUPPLIED, DELTA LIGHT, ‘ULTRA S D’ 3033 B-MMAT CANISTER LIGHTS
INLITE SUPPLIED, DELTA LIGHT, ‘BOXY R 83033 B-B’
INLITE SUPPLIED, “ONE-LINER”, BLACK LINEAL EXTRUSIONS
IGUZZINNI “LIGHT UP WALK” IN GROUND LED UP LIGHTERS THROUGH THE LOBBY FOR DRAMATIC LIGHT EFFECTS ON THE ORIGINAL MASONRY WALLS
BESPOKE FOLDED METAL LARGE FEATURE PENDANT LIGHT CLUSTER DESIGNED BY ATELIER ANDY CARSON
CSR GYPROCK“PERFORATED PLASTERBOARD SHEET”
NASH TIMBERS, FRENCH OAK, ENGINEERED FLOORBOARDS
ACADEMY TILES, ‘OLIVE’ 600 X 600MMPORCELAN TILES
POLISHED CONCRETE BY BUILDER
NICCO JOINERY WESTERN RED CEDAR
MILLED RAILWAY SLEEPERS
ECO OUTDOORS SUPPLIED THE BLUESTONE 300 X 600MM PAVING
BLUESCOPE LYSAGHT, KLIP LOK 406, IN “MONUMENT”
BESPOKE CANTILEVERED STEEL AWNING, WITH TOUGHENED VIRIDIAN GLASS