A bold new look for the 130-year-old home of a former Sydney mayor

There is also a reception area / lounge in a slightly English style (think armchairs with high backs) for more informal meetings, complete with a hidden kitchen tucked away behind a curved wooden wall.

“We were lucky that some of the building’s features, such as the ornate wooden staircase, were intact and had not been painted,” says Tzannes.

But even within the original footprint, there is a clear distinction between what is new and what is not.

For example, some of the doors are lined with fabric and have up-to-date handles.

Other aspects, such as the windows on the ground floor facing West Street, are new but true to the closed Victorian-style windows just above.

Some areas, such as the open-plan office on the first floor, have a foothold in both camps: The open workstations occupy what would have been an original space, complete with period features, while the new kitchenette is off today.


Between the two is a generous skylight that stretches the length of the passage, offering views of the sky and vignettes of the old chimneys.

While Playfair would be delighted with the fine restoration, architecture and design fans would certainly be impressed with the latest addition.

Constructed with hundreds of bricks, each of which turned out to express its profile, the highly textured shape at the back simply encloses a staircase and a bathroom.

With its location on the northern edge of the property and adjacent to a lane to the company’s car park, this is an unusual and quite radical solution.

But when you see how the natural light revolves around this two-level brick pillar, only a few meters wide, you fully understand the reasoning behind it – to put it mildly, magical.

Slightly elevated above the ground, also on bricks, but with a smooth bottom, it prevents cars turning the corner to reach the car park from causing damage to the artistic character of the carefully arranged bricks.

It’s also not just stupidity to slow down traffic when the brief noted the requirement for additional entrances to the offices (now three in total including the original front door leading directly to a boardroom).

“This means that people can use the boardroom independently of the offices, and those who come by car can simply enter without walking in the middle of an office,” says Tzannes.


For those who want an architectural experience, the built-in brick tower is the obvious choice.

For those who are in doubt about adding a modern extension to a listed building or even one located in a heritage area, they will take advantage of a look at the Ridge Street office.

It still retains the polite and upscale atmosphere that marked a fine residence.

But it also suggests what can be achieved when put in the right hands!

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