The ambition of 102 The Mill was to preserve the industrial and varied history of the inner western Sydney suburb of Balmain, while creating an inspiring and generous home.
As older established suburbs grow and change, there are opportunities to balance the use of existing materials with a sensitive range of new elements that continue to tell the story of the suburb as they adapt to new uses.
Carter Williamson Architects’ philosophy of ensuring that their clients feel safe, confident and expressive while reflecting in peaceful surroundings is encapsulated at 102 The Mill.
Existing buildings were considered an opportunity to design a generous, robust, character-filled home.
The plan is divided into three areas east to west – vertical circulation, a service wall and places to live.
This design strategy allows frequently used spaces to experience maximum light, air and openness through the north, west and south facades.
The home’s past industrial life is wonderfully evident inside. The recycled three-storey wall follows the stairs up and perfectly complements the steel beam elements that are displayed throughout the home.
“Using the existing storage frame, we created beautiful volumes, including a 12-foot-high cavity that illuminated down four levels of winding stairs,” says chief architect Shaun Carter.
In the living area, matte black carpentry forms the service wall, releasing the western façade into a band of sliding windows.
The master bedroom ensuite high walls are lined with light gray fan tiles that are perfectly complemented by patinated brass fixtures.
Møllegården is accessible via sliding glass doors from floor to ceiling. It is lined with natural stone and covered with black steel-clad tall wood panels.
Recycled beams that were fire-damaged in the warehouse’s previous lives were put to work to line the courtyard – another example of the home’s adaptive recycling of materials.
Carter Williamson considers tiles as thin bricks and bricks as thin tiles. In this case, rich black tiles have been used to line the warehouse facade to create a new sophisticated identity for the home, which in turn places great emphasis on its landscaping.
Set under the bedroom’s balcony is a lush city garden and a small pond lined with recycled masonry, bordered by the familiar aged steel on the exterior walls.
Plants are used to act as a green screen between buildings, maintain privacy and deliver 30 percent landscaping to a site that was previously 100 percent hard.
Where materials have been inserted or replaced, they have helped to transform a warehouse into a home, respond to context and at the same time open dialogue with neighboring buildings.
By preserving the original height of the warehouse, the street composition is preserved.
The additional balcony on the third floor continues the conversation with the adjoining traditional terraces.
The home serves as a mediator and transition piece as Balmain stretches across past and present.
Embracing his former factory life, 102 The Mill manages to capture the gruesome feeling of industrial Balmain.
The resulting home blends into its inner Sydney setting, yet strikes it as a pillar of contemporary Australian architecture.