The structural requirements of a building have a major impact on the design possibilities and can easily compromise renovation plans. Either a wall is part of the structure and has to be kept or, if it is removed, other forms of support, such as beams or columns, must be included in the design.
When architect Nick Winton of Anmahiam Winton Associates saw an empty loft space on the 10th floor of the old Washburn-Crosby granary building, he immediately recognised the possibilities. At 1.260 m², the loft was large and clear, and it opened onto another 900 m² of outdoor space that could be transformed into a roof garden.
From a space-planning perspective, because the building had previously been a warehouse and storage facility, only a small number of support columns broke up the large volume.
"And, because of its position beside the river in the centre of the city's downtown area, the loft and garden overlook two extraordinary landscapes. In one direction, views are of a dramatic, contemporary skyline, and on the other side we can see the power of the river," says Winton.
"The loft is effectively a penthouse on top of the building, with doors opening directly out onto the roof, giving the position an even greater impact. To ensure the indoor and outside areas work together, the roof garden landscaping and the interior architecture were developed in conjunction with each other," the architect says.
Another appealing feature of this industrial warehouse was the presence of large windows extending from just above floor level to the ceiling on all sides of the building.
"Everything about the space was classically loft-like. We kept all the original window openings and only altered a couple to create doorways onto the deck," Winton says.