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   -   The Australian Institute of Architects Award for Heritage Architecture (NSW)




Restoration of a Colonial Cottage at Millers Point, Sydney
by Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners

            

IN THE ARCHITECTS WORDS

This stone cottage at Millers Point was built in 1837 and is the oldest house in the street. Its prominence, as the last house on the point, is the result of the removal of the headland for container wharves in 1968. The cottage is a rare survival of the small scale colonial Georgian house. Sydney has a number of grand 1830s houses but nothing of this scale and quality. For much of its life the house was tenanted, and following the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900, it has been in the hands of the Sydney Harbour Trust and its successors. About 1906 the cottage was upgraded with an outside bathroom / laundry and w.c. Little changed after this period except that the house was increasingly poorly maintained: the front verandah was reconstructed in a crude form and the main front windows and dormers filled with crude hopper sashes, one of the chimneys was taken down, the iron roof rusted through, termites played havoc with a great deal of the structure, and falling and rising damp was severe. When acquired by the client in September 2004, the house had been unoccupied for about 10 years. It was a wreck, boarded up and unlivable. The client wished to restore the house to live in. Despite its vicissitudes and its outward appearance the house was extraordinarily intact. The elegant 1830s doors survived as did the chimneypieces, built-in cupboards, attic screen and staircase. Even the stone flagged kitchen was intact. The blacksmith's shop below the cliff
 
 

(built in 1906 and operating until 1975) was clearly suitable for a garage. A scheme was devised to turn the attic into the main bedroom suite and provide a second guest bedroom with adjoining shower at ground floor level. The sitting room, dining room and kitchen retained their original uses. One of the features of the house had been its eastern cantilevered balcony, removed a long while ago and the doorway stoned up. It appears in several early drawings of Millers Point but its exact detail remains obscure. It has been rebuilt in a simple modern way using archeological evidence. Similarly the lift and stair, required to get from the blacksmith’s shop to the house, was conceived as a simple clip-on, clad in corrugated iron to look like a water tank, similar to other lean-to structures throughout the Rocks. The Edwardian laundry / bathroom were stripped to create a dining verandah, and the courtyard paved as a private garden, where a raised landing allows water views of the upper harbour. The verandah is restructured to its original height and form. The window shutters, roof lights, and front fence have been reconstructed. The missing chimney was rebuilt, and ant-eaten joists and flooring replaced. New French doors have been reconstructed for the balcony and similar doors formed into the kitchen from the garden. The kitchen, dressing room and bathrooms are refitted in a sympathetic way. A fine colonial Georgian building has been given a new life.
 
DETAILS

Location
Millers Point, Sydney, NSW
Architect
Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners
Contact address:
Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners
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.Project Team
Project architect: Clive Lucas
Project architect: Clive Lucas
Structural consultant: Hughes Trueman Pty. Ltd.
Builder: Charles Gatt Builders
Project Team: Ashley Brown
Project Team: Ronald Brown
Project Team: Haig Dowsett
Project Team: Ashley Brown
Project Team: Ronald Brown
Project Team: Haig Dowsett
Joinery Subcontractor: M.J. Bielby
Plumbing Subcontractor: Brooker and Partners
Painting Subcontractor: W.J Whittlam
Stonemasonry Subcontractor: Macquarie Masons
Photographer: Eric Sierens
Photographer: Clive Lucas
Photographer: Eric Sierens
Photographer: Clive Lucas
Entered
2008


Photographs by Eric Sierens, Clive Lucas, Eric Sierens & Clive Lucas, text by Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners

Link directly to this award entry: http://dynamic.architecture.com.au/awards_search?option=showaward&entryno=2008029089

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