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Future-Proofing Is All About Solid Adaptive Re-Use

A century-old woolstore is redeveloped for another 100 years of use, ready for the new industries that emerge and develop in Pyrmont.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

  • Photography by Felix Forest.

Pyrmont in inner Sydney has a long and storied history. It flourished in the 1800s with sandstone quarries, shipbuilding, refineries and foundries, and in the late 1880s, the construction of woolstores reflected the growth of the pastoral trade. As industry moved out in the mid-twentieth century the area declined and by the 1980s it was derelict and abandoned. Today, Pyrmont has been rejuvenated and it is again a centre of industry with the arrival and emergence of tech companies, online businesses, start ups, incubators and creative studios. But the evidence of history still remains and is celebrated in the woolstores, distilleries and warehouses that have been converted into contemporary workspaces.

One such building is 100 Harris Street, a former woolstore now home to Domain, WeWork, Enero Group and the Stockroom Café. “The commercial market was a major driver of the design,” says Adam Haddow, director of SJB. As was respecting the building’s integrity to ensure the sustainability of its adaptive reuse.

Built in the 1890s and added to in the 1910s and 1920s, 100 Harris Street is a six-storey building with an ornate brick façade and timber internal construction. “The project brief was to reimagine the building as an active and dynamic office space, delivering new vertical transportation and emergency egress and to incorporate an atrium, which would deliver light deep into the massive 4500-square-metre footprint,” Adam explains.

Outside, minor alterations, such as shading hoods and street awnings, improve the building’s responsiveness to the environment, while inside, the interiors were left largely as found with simple additions for utilities and services. However, the piece de resistance of 100 Harris Street is the lofty atrium in the centre of the building that reveals the layering and activities of the building while allowing light into the depths of the plan. A large steel staircase snakes its way from the basement around the structural beams to the sawtooth clerestory, connecting all levels with internal gardens and promoting movement throughout the building. “The dynamism of this visual vertical connection cannot be understated,” says Adam.

Indeed, the design exposes the original building fabric and celebrates its robustness, age and patina. The untreated timberwork exposes previous water damage and decay while the newly painted metal work is crisp in contrast.

Redeveloped and refreshed, 100 Harris Street is now ready for its next 100 years of use, providing flexible workspace for current and future tenants and the new industries that may develop and thrive in Pyrmont throughout the next century.


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