The original warehouse was very dilapidated and dirty, looking ready for demolition. So my first impressions when my clients asked to have a beautiful apartment installed to the rear: “Are you up for the job?” – “Absolutely!”
The newly created space is uplifting, and full of light and volume – having almost a
tent-like quality. The large amount of glazing allows the changing light of the day to filter into the apartment, creating atmospheric mood and drama.
PROJECT COST $300,000
Built in the 1950s, the original warehouse building and office to the front was utilised as a sewing factory, then a factory producing hand printed wallpapers. The warehouse is now used as premises for a painting contractor.
The building itself was very dilapidated and dirty, so my first impressions when my clients asked to have a beautiful apartment installed to the rear: “Are you up for the job?” – “Absolutely!”
The apartment needed to be fire separated from the warehouse storage facility and required a separate entry from the rear, providing indoor-outdoor flow to the proposed garden behind.
The clients and I discussed their requirements in depth, and the biggest issues were the enormous scale of the interior, the large windows, and the unsightly corrugated plastic to the gables. We embraced the volume of the space from the outset and the idea was to have a stair leading up to a mezzanine floor. The brief required an open plan kitchen, dining, and living room, as well as two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry. The client loved the idea of a New York Loft Style Apartment
As the outdoor area faces south east, a principal concern was the resulting lack of actual sunlight inside in the afternoon and evening. Close to the southern boundary was an unappealing industrial building so the southern wall was made use of for utility spaces and maximising insulation. Four skylights were installed to transform the light quality of the apartment.
Design features & creative solutions
The original building was dark and oppressive with water stained, dirty walls and dark painted concrete floors, creating an inward-focussed space. It was cold, with its large volume broken up with steel structure of columns, girders and purlins.
New York Loft Style inspiration
We loved the scale of the interior, and looked at various New York loft apartments for inspiration. Enhancing the verticality with the use of stairs leading up to a mezzanine floor highlights the sense of volume. The four skylights overhead allow for cross-flow ventilation, and oversized windows and doors provide views to the eastern hills and changing skyscapes.
Entering the apartment through the warehouse in front, you come into a lowered 2.2m high entrance hall that leads to the kitchen positioned beneath the mezzanine. This creates a sense of residential scale and enables functional requirements – kitchen extract and task lighting – while showcasing the dramatic contrast when you step out beneath the soaring ceiling above.
Fire protection for the new apartment
The steel columns and beams, were boxed in but still maintain strong lines of post and beam architecture. The steel rafters were concealed for the purpose of fire rating, insulation, HRV ducting and to simplify the architectural detailing.
Although the building was always a lightweight structure, the colour, the dirt, and the orientation, had made it seem heavy and oppressive. The newly created space is uplifting, and full of light and volume – having almost a tent-like quality. The large amount of glazing allows the changing light of the day to filter into the apartment, creating atmospheric mood and drama.
CREDITS FOR CONSULTANTS
BUILDER – Jamie Woodgate Ultrabuild
PAINTER – Mike Werry of Hutt City Decorators
Photographer – Asset Imagery
Fire Consultant – Eddy Saul CBIS