Rather than doing a traditional warehouse conversion, these homeowners chose to maintain the original facade but do something completely new and unexpected on the inside.
From the outside, you see a “simple and unremarkable” red-brick façade — refinished remnants of a 1920s warehouse. After walking through the front door, off-form concrete, striking steel structures and glass walls speak of a brutalist-inspired space that is first an art gallery, and second a home. A remarkable building within a building.
Contemporary art collectors and homeowners Andy Penn (current CEO of Telstra) and Kallie Blauhorn approached Techne Architecture + Interior Design with a brief that included creating a space for their art collection. The industrial warehouse design style seemed fitting to achieve the homeowners’ wishes; however, instead of a standard warehouse conversion, Techne Architecture + Interior Design reinvented the boundaries. They would construct a building within a building, maintaining the warehouse’s original facade and creating an ultra-modern interior space that gave glimpses of the building’s heritage.
“Art is one of their key interests and they wanted a space to house it and present it in a way their previous house wasn’t capable of doing. The brief was very much about art first and living second, and as such the ground floor resembles a gallery and is designed for entertaining,” says Nick Travers, director at Techne Architecture + Interior Design.
With the ground floor reserved for the art collection along with a formal seating area and entertaining space, upstairs comprises three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home office and gym room. Another key feature of the clients’ brief was for privacy. It was this defining feature that inspired the architects to envision the concept of a “building inside a building”. Such a design would result in an unassuming facade that would create an element of surprise once you step through the front door.
“It is also a building within a building, where the home is enveloped by the original industrial walls and from the street one would never imagine what’s inside. It truly is an unassuming urban oasis” – Nick Travers
The home’s industrial inspiration is expressed through a simple palette that involves off-form concrete, steel, metal cladding and black-framed windows. Expressions of the original structure were purposefully exposed where possible, including the raw condition of the brick walls and glimpses of the building’s old fabric. “It’s a refined but honest expression of construction,” says Nick. Layers of texture and tactility add warmth to this raw framework, including darkened timber ceilings and the injection of colour and emotion from the homeowners’ art collection. With multiple access points to the courtyard, natural light floods the interior, injecting life into the still and introspective space.
“It’s robust and almost brutalist in a sense, with added layers to give it a feeling of home,” adds Nick. “This home is quite unique … it is also a building within a building, where the home is enveloped by the original industrial walls and from the street one would never imagine what’s inside. It truly is an unassuming urban oasis.”
“The brief was very much about art first and living second, and as such the ground floor resembles a gallery and is designed for entertaining”
– Nick Travers
WORDS KARSHA GREEN; PHOTOGRAPHY TOM BLACHFORD