The Mill Residences
INTRODUCTION The Mill Residences are located on a prominent corner site in an inner Sydney suburb. Two luxury apartments were created within an existing church building, with two new terrace houses built alongside. The existing church dates from the early 1900s, a landmark structure on the site of Sydney’s last mill. The visible fabric of the church was retained in deference to its significance to the local community, history and streetscape. The new terraces were sited at a respectful distance to its rear and project a deliberately contrasting aesthetic. The result is a coherent yet clearly contrasting development. The use of scale, rhythm, colour and landscaping successfully marry the site's two narratives. COMMODITY Church apartments The church operated as a childcare centre from the 1960s, with extensive internal modelling to suit. To create the two apartments inside, the church was stripped back to its original fabric. New work visible to the street was restricted to restoration and repair. Leadlight windows precluded the possibility of views from within the building - a critical limitation to overcome. The solution lay in extensive remodelling of the concealed northern façade, and in the exploitation of its generous volume. Vast openings were made in the north-facing roof to frame a huge expanse of sky. The apartments were then planned around internal courtyards, successfully offering an alternative outdoor focus for the dwellings. The result is a series of intimate and private spaces that enjoy a strong connection to the world outside. Contemporary terraces While the church apartments are necessarily inward-looking in design and intent, the new terraces are more effusive. They take advantage of sweeping district views and strongly connect with the streetscape. The church land occupied the entire length of the street block, with the building itself confined to its eastern boundary - the fenced and vacant land at the rear only served to break the streetscape pattern. The site called for a sensitive infill development. The new terraces draw on the proportion, scale and rhythm of their late Victorian and early Federation neighbours, but enjoy a clearly contemporary aesthetic. The result is a strong contribution to the built fabric of the area. A solid masonry corner element was used in the terraces to balance the mass of the church. This “solid box


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