The adaptive re-use of a historic Sydney brick-making kiln was a design challenge on several levels not least because of the planning requirements

Historic elements have been preserved, retaining the character apartment, architecture, building, condominium, elevation, estate, facade, home, house, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, villa
Historic elements have been preserved, retaining the character of the original bricworks. Brick has also been incorporated into the base of the new buildings.

Heritage sites are invariably protected by a raft of conditions and special requirements, which can make a development all the more challenging. But as this project illustrates, such preservation ordinances also lead to innovative design solutions that address the historic elements in the most effective way.

Architect Steve Zappia of Marchese & Partners says the site of the former Brookvale Brickworks in Sydney, developed by Globe Project Group, presented an ideal opportunity for a multi-unit residential development. Tucked away within a bush-clad valley, the land had originally been filled to accommodate a large brick kiln and chimney in the centre of the site.

"A residential development was seen as the best way to maintain the heritage aspects of the site. The main question was what to do with the existing buildings. We needed to retain the history and character of the former brickworks, yet also provide sufficient density to make the development viable."

Zappia says that while there were several buildability issues to overcome, including working with a filled site, managing the planning approval was the biggest challenge. The 8.5m height restrictions determined the need for low-rise buildings.

Large overhangs and balconies characterise the townhouses and architecture, building, condominium, corporate headquarters, facade, home, house, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, suburb, brown
Large overhangs and balconies characterise the townhouses and apartments.

"The local authority wanted to keep a human scale to the development the new buildings couldn't overpower the heritage elements."

The solution provides three blocks of townhouses in two different styles, and three blocks of apartments in a number of configurations. In addition, the original kiln building was converted to provide eight two-storey apartments with cantilevered balconies. These units were built within the original metal-clad structure above the giant brick oven. The existing structure, which was an empty shell, was re-clad and re-roofed.

The kiln itself was reinforced and the existing arches became entrances to the apartments. To provide a pool within the building, the ground beneath one end of the kiln was excavated. A community meeting room was also incorporated into the building.

Zappia says the contemporary, square-edged design of the apartments' balconies and dormer windows is a function of the need to create new intrusions within the existing building envelope.

All units feature light spacious interiors, and balcoies. architecture, daylighting, floor, glass, light, reflection, water, window, wood, brown
All units feature light spacious interiors, and balcoies. The original kiln oven now accommodates a swimming pool.

"We framed these new openings with modern elements, including the dormer windows that are in keeping with the character of the metal roof. These units have a warehouse industrial feel they are a little more edgy than the other units."

Both the townhouses and apartments in the surrounding blocks have a similar square-edged look, and are designed to maximise the bush views. All the units have balconies, some with fixed or sliding aluminium louvre screens for privacy and sun control.

The interiors of all the townhouses and apartments are spacious and light filled, with extensive glazing. Zappia says a high standard of specification also characterises all the units.

Credit list

Steve Zappia, Marchese & Partners
Construction company
Southern Cross Constructions
Electrical engineer
DDP Electrical
Quantity surveyor
Landmark White
Trim-Deck; Colorbond
Window and door joinery
Bradmans Windows
Quest Carpet Manufacturers
Wenge timber
DDP Electrical
Sean Morris Design
Villeroy & Boch; Caroma
Integrated Signage
Globe Project Group
Civil engineer
Ven Der Mer Bonser
Mechanical engineer
Facade design and construction
Rapid wall and brickwork
Vitrified and mosaic tiles from Royal Tiles
P50 CSR plasterboard
Heating and cooling
Kitchen cabinetry
Prestige Kitchens
Security system
Crystal Pools

Story by: Trendsideas

18 Dec, 2007