Transforming an 1890s Victorian house into a contemporary commercial office space
The Campbell House is an adaptive reuse of an 1890s house that involved internal and external structural modifications to transition the building into a contemporary and renewable future. The two story building was transformed to include commercial offices and meeting spaces, a central and open communal courtyard, a commercial kitchen and entertainment spaces, an internal vertical lift, and significant technology upgrades and sustainability features.
Celebrating the building’s heritage and sustainability were core priorities for the build, and this was carried through in the design and construction methods. Buildcorp was able to reduce waste by salvaging and reusing bricks, hardwood timber floors and frames from the original home, as well
as salvaging slate from St Mary’s Cathedral for the roof. A master stone mason was employed to replace and match existing sandstone sills to the entire façade, and the existing brickwork was repointed.
Complex and modern features were then constructed to create a contemporary feel and ensure the building’s ongoing sustainability. A bespoke aluminium and stainless-steel frame was constructed to support 65 solar panels that will generate 80% of the building’s energy needs, including powering the new Tesla battery system. With this feature, the building is currently tracking to a 5 stars NABERS rating.
Other highlights in the construction include a 7m high curved glass façade to encase the reconstructed stairs at the front of the building and a wall made of Obeco solid glass bricks, supported by a steel frame portal, which replaced a double skin brick wall in the Eastern façade. A new concrete staircase at the rear was encased in Class 1 formwork.
A key highlight of the new space is a 35-year-old 8m high Weeping Fig tree, which stands in the central courtyard of the building beneath a custom skylight. The tree was selected 24 months prior to construction to enable its growth to be dwarfed and branches trained through a bonsai process to suit its new environment.
Tonkin Zulaikha Greer