Black and White Warehouse

The Australian practice established by New Zeland-born architect Ian Moore has given this 19th-century grocery warehouse a new life by converting it into a stylish, black-and-white residence.

The one-bedroom, two-floor warehouse is located in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and encompasses a large, airy open-plan living area, an overlooking kitchen located on the mezzanine storey and an uniformly-white Corian-lined bathroom. Interestingly, the existing structure of the house has been repainted white while the new elements have been developed in black creating this monochrome, undeniably modern interior.

This project is the conversion of a late 19th century former grocery warehouse into a 2 level, one bedroom residence. In the mid 20th century it had 35 years of use as an engineering workshop before being converted to an artist’s studio and residence in the 1970s.

Internally a 1.7 metre height difference between the 2 streets is utilised to create the tall volume of the living space, with its’ floor to ceiling wall of books. The kitchen occupies the half level above, overlooking the living area and is screened by a black steel plate structure incorporating a built-in black leather bench seat.

All existing structure has been retained, lined and painted white, while all new elements are painted black. This concept is carried through to the black and white rubber flooring. All joinery is finished in black anodised aluminium, including the bathroom on the upper level, which maintains the datum established by the height of the original window openings.

The clear glazing above allows light from the new clerestory window to illuminate the formerly dark centre of the deep open planned space. Internally the bathroom is lined with Corian on both walls and floor.

The property has 2 street frontages, allowing clear separation of pedestrian and vehicle entries. The new front door is located in the former loading dock at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, adjacent to a heritage listed sandstone wall. The entry is defined by a full height steel plate portal, adding to the palimpsest of former window openings and recycled brickwork that make up this façade.

The main street façade reinterprets the original but in steel rather than timber, with the address spelt out in water jet cut steel letters reflecting the original engineering workshop signage. The contrast between the precision of the steelwork and the patina of the original brickwork summarises the transformation from 19th to 21st centuries and from industrial to residential.

Strelein Warehouse by Ian Moore Architects; photo by Iain D. MacKenzie

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