[+] Billionaire Philanthropist Unveils Next Design Statement – 71Bait

Billionaire philanthropist and art collector Judith Neilson is preparing to make her next design statement with plans for an $18.5 million warehouse conversion to create a modern private residence.

The proposal is touted as an opportunity to create a future example of “world-class adaptive reuse” of an existing commercial building.

“This builds on applicant Judith Neilson’s track record of delivering quality projects that have received both local and international awards and recognition,” said the prosecutor’s office on file with Sydney City Council.

▲ Billionaire philanthropist Judith Neilson.

These include her designer home Indigo Slam, performance space gallery Phoenix Central Park, private art storage and curation facility Dangrove, and the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.

Neilson, a former graphic designer, is the ex-wife of billionaire investment manager Kerr Neilson – dubbed “Australia’s Warren Buffet” – and a patron of the arts, architecture and journalism

Her non-profit White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney’s inner-city Chippendale houses one of the world’s most important collections of contemporary Chinese art.

▲ The private art preservation and curation facility Dangrove.

Over the past decade, she’s amassed an extensive real estate portfolio — a sizable chunk of it in the former working-class suburb, where she’s invested over $100 million and owns more real estate than the three surrounding universities.

Under the recently submitted plan, a former Federation-style warehouse in nearby Ultimo would be converted into a four-storey, five-bedroom house with a gross floor area of ​​880 square meters – more than three times the size of the average new build home in Australia.

The existing building occupies the entire 4,000 sq ft lot at 66 Bay Street and therefore a parking lot will be created through the installation of a car elevator.

It was built in the early 1900’s and is not listed as a listed building nor does it adjoin listed land but is within a listed area (HCA). After a major fire in the mid-1980s, it was remodeled and subsequently used as office and retail space.

▲ The camp currently located on the Ultimo site.

Extensive restoration work is planned as part of the proposal, including restoring the brick facade, removing later “unpleasant” and “poorly executed” alterations and additions, and restoring original features.

The crowning glory of the warehouse conversion, however, and a key aspect of the design by Sydney-based studio Atelier Andy Carson, is a modern rooftop extension that includes a master bedroom, swimming pool and landscaped terrace.

The fourth-level addition is said to feature copper sheet roofing and concrete walls with “unconventional geometries” that overhang the terrace “to provide visual interest and architectural distinction.”

“This is an adaptive conversion of the existing world-class commercial building into a unique and architecturally significant individual residence,” reads the architectural design statement.

▲ Neilson’s current home in Chippendale, Indigo Slam.

“The clearly recognizable addition provides visual separation and contrasts the highly articulated sculptural form with the cubic storage form, providing a rich blend of old and new that enhances both.”

But the documents submitted noted preliminary feedback from the Council that the proposed amendment was not consistent with the existing character of the HCA.

According to the plan approval report submitted, the extension is “consistent with the variable size and typology of the buildings within the area”.

“The move away from a linear design draws attention to the warehouse below and adds new value to the street form,” it says.

“The design intent for this project is primarily to preserve and restore the listed facade and achieve an extended lifespan of this contributing building for the next 100+ years.”

▲ The Performance Space Gallery Phoenix Central Park.

It concluded that the proposal “shows exemplary architectural design” and “would provide a positive design outcome for the conservation area and the wider neighborhood”.

“The project offers a very unique and bespoke brief to convert a large, existing warehouse into a new contemporary private residence designed to revitalize, celebrate and adaptively reuse the existing building, set to serve as a future example of this type of… Customization can be recognized.”

Neilson has a growing collection of inner-city creations that have been acclaimed for their architecture and have won scores of gongs for their innovative designs.

Her current residence Indigo Slam, designed by architect William Smart, won the top NSW architecture award for new homes in 2016 and was followed a few years later by her Tzannes-designed art warehouse Dangrove in Alexandria, which won the first national and NSW Commercial Architecture Awards.

Phoenix Central Park – a John Wardle-designed gallery linked via a courtyard to a Durbach Block Jaggers-designed performance space – was named after the fire-damaged warehouse it replaced and won the top overall award at the 2020 NSW Architecture Awards.



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