Back to the FUTURE
Peter Booth’s warehouse transformation
IT IS not much of a challenge to create a residential masterpiece with a budget in the millions of dollars. The true test of an architect comes when they try to create something from virtually nothing and do so with limited resources.
From the ruins of a heritage- listed warehouse, in the centre of the Hobart CBD, architect Peter Booth has created something which is not only visually stunning but highly sustainable and efficient. And he did it all with his own two hands. “Not only being the owner and architect, I was also the builder,” he said.
“Every screw, every nail, every coat of paint is mine or my partners’. The new structure was designed to accommodate the old materials so we could keep the character and minimise waste. We’ve re- used as much as we possibly could from the original site.”
The transformation from dilapidated warehouse into modern inner- city house with adjacent studio took about three years and was finished in May last year.
Peter saw the property advertised online and thought he had missed his chance when it sold.
After that offer fell through, it took him just three days to secure it.
“We bought it off a builder and he was using it as storage and for parking cars,” Peter said.
“The back part of the building had been removed and the roof was just hanging over the top because they could fit more cars in that way, which is kind of crazy to think about now.”
Working in reverse, the first task was to add a new roof to dry out the building after years of water damage.
The floorboards from the upper storey were repurposed as exterior cladding and new boards for the first floor came from the demolition of the Ulverstone Scout Hall.
This level contains a mezzanine master bedroom that features the original garage doors as the doors to the built- in wardrobe.
The surprisingly large space also contains a further two bedrooms and an opulent bathroom.
Alongside the recycled materials are new ones that have been selected to contrast the existing elements, creating a clear distinction between new and old.
This is most evident on the lower level which houses the double height living/ dining area and kitchen.
Double glazed bi- fold doors open up to blur indoor and outdoor living.
Sandstone and bricks discovered during excavation were re- used in the landscaping of the private courtyard.
Opposite the courtyard is the studio which Peter and his partner lived in for nine months during construction. With a small bathroom, built- in bunk beds, kitchenette and living area, the 24m ² area is now used by the tenants as a workshop area as was originally intended.
The myrtle overlay floor came from a construction site in the Huon Valley where it had been deemed waste and one of the exposed brick walls dates back to the mid1800s.
Heritage Tasmania imposed minimal restrictions on the construction, Peter said.
“The council was happy that someone was making use of the site and putting something
residential into the city, which is a really important aspect of keeping a city alive,” he said.
“The liveliness of the city after 5pm is really lacking and I think projects like this and the university accommodation planned for Melville St will really start regenerating the city, much in the same way it happened in Melbourne in the early 1990s.”
Passive solar techniques such as thermal mass via the concrete base, double glazing and super insulation have made the home so efficient that the tenants used the air conditioner just once during the record hot summer and the heating in short bursts on cooler days.
An added aspect to the property’s sustainability and efficiency is its location that almost eliminates the need for a car.
Harrington House is nominated in the Residential Architecture Houses Alterations and Additions category of the Tasmanian Architecture Awards 2013.
Vote in the People’s Choice prize in this year’s Tasmanian Architecture Awards to be in the draw to win a Zip boil, chilled and sparkling HydroTap unit worth $ 4345. You can vote online for your favourite project. Vote at www. architecture. com. au/ tas. The winner will be notified by phone on Friday, June 14.