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2015 National Architecture Awards: Heritage

#thebarnTAS by Workbylizandalex Heritage: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The conversion of a historic barn to a studio apartment is a brilliant solution to the problem of how to resurrect a tiny service structure that might easily have been left to decay. Minimal and inventive interventions clearly delineate where old and new meet. Existing window openings are retained but celebrated with exquisitely detailed new window “boxes” and a giant pivot window/door that opens onto a pocket-sized courtyard. The original stable stalls and loft can still be read, while a contemporary bathroom and kitchen have been cleverly inserted. A double-height living space celebrates the original volume of the barn. Weatherproofing, insulation, heating and major repairs are all hidden. The historic structure has been lovingly retained – even its original shingles have been scrupulously cleaned and now form a ceiling to the upper mezzanine bedroom. This is an excellent example of how the limits and challenges of heritage and conservation can encourage inventive solutions. Regulatory, technical and structural requirements have not been seen as impediments but rather as creative possibilities.


Project Team
Alex Nielsen, Liz Walsh
Builder Cordwell Lane Builders
Building surveyor Kim Eagling
Construction team Mick Lane, Neil Richards (project managers); Andrew Hilder (site foreman)
Heritage consultant Peter Spratt
Structural consultant Aldanmark Consulting Engineers
Site details
Category Residential buildings
Type Adaptive re-use, Houses
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 5 Nov 2015
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2015
Images: Alex Nielsen, Matt Samson


Architecture Australia, November 2015

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