Former First Church of Christ Scientist BuildingSydney NSW Australia
Built in the interwar Beaux Arts style, the 1927 First Church of Christ Scientist building is a major work by the noted Australian architect Samuel George Thorp. Currently used as a private residence, SJB is working with Cornerstone Property Group on the adaptive reuse of this well-loved Sydney local heritage listed item into commercial office premises with alterations and additions including a two-storey addition to the eastern wing, a new rooftop terrace and attic area.
Taking cues from Carlo Scarpa’s Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, Italy, the proposed renovation curates the spatial experience as a journey with plinths, bridges, doorways and staircases arranged in asymmetric or playful ways ensuring that the existing fabric is left in tact to shine through.
As the primary building address, the south eastern portico will be returned to the public domain. Elsewhere, lower ground windows are converted to doors leading out to newly landscaped terraces or sunken courtyards, creating a relationship with the outside of the building for future tenancies.
Juxtaposing old and new, the two-storey addition employs the language of a clean glass box that reads at the same height as the church parapet and sits back in the same plane, the sensitive location and scale providing a modern yet discreet addition to the streetscape.