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Press Kit
| no: 3004-01
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Press kit - Press release - Maybanke - AJ+C
A v2com exclusive

Maybanke

Sydney, Australia

AJ+C

Gothic Modern


Sydney, Australia, 2018-01-12 -

Design ingenuity and a dose of respect for its original Gothic Revival bones deliver a blighted 1870s harbourside home in Sydney into the 21st century.


CROSSING THE GOTHIC REVIVAL threshold of Maybanke, the waterfront home on Sydney Harbour with a distinguished history, is to traverse 150 years in a few short steps.

Panoramic water views, an abundance of penetrating antipodean light and a five-storey sculptural stair – that together would surely have befuddled and amazed the 1870s sensibilities of the individuals who built the original building – leave the modern visitor in no doubt which century this home now squarely belongs.


Not that AJ+C had much of the original fabric to celebrate – and then massage – into contemporary times. For years the building had languished unloved in architectural limbo, as a block of nondescript flats.

“It was an incredibly ugly building,” says AJ+C’s Jim Koopman, Design Director for Maybanke’s fresh and entirely more elegant 21st Century re-awakening.
There was little evidence beneath its unsympathetic 1930s bunker-like façades of its Gothic Revival sensibilities – nor indeed of its historical significance as the home of the educationalist and champion of women’s rights in Australia’s Victorian Era, Maybanke Anderson.

Anderson was the sister of noted local engineer of that time, Norman Selfe, who owned Normanton, the house next door. Selfe designed and built the adjoining houses in 1876-1877 and, in 1938, Maybanke was unceremoniously converted into a plain old block of flats with zero concern for any aesthetic or historical relationship to its adjoining neighbour.

Maybanke was turned from bourgeois townhouse into workers’ multi-housing – cramped but functional in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the effort and care it had taken to create it less than 70 years earlier.

“It looked like some sort of tumour on Normanton,” says Koopman of Maybanke Flats, as it became known after 1938, adding that Normanton’s surviving French Renaissance-inspired Mansard roof and Gothic Revival detailing – its stone hood-mounts, ornamental trims, its tall chimneys – were evidence of what Maybanke might have looked before being entombed beneath expressionless masonry, concrete and render.

The fundamental concept was that since “so much of the original fabric was gone it had to be reconstructed” says Koopman “and we also had to make sure any new additions would be a piece of contemporary architecture in its own right.”

That said before any real work on pairing back, improving and adding to the Victorian structure could begin a final battle against the soddenness of the Sydney sandstone outcrop upon which it sits, had to be waged and won – at considerable cost and over a period of nearly eight months.

The job would mean all the building’s 1870s foundations had to be removed, the house suspended and slabs inserted under the existing walls. Permanent access also had to be provided behind the existing stone walls for future maintenance and to guard against damp breaching the porous sandstone walls.

"When we lifted the floorboards here and took the floor away we found an inland lake,” remembers one of the home’s owners. “That water must have been there for goodness knows how long.”

Today the front and side façades have been restored to echo Normanton next door – with its bay windows, balconies, chimneys, copper downpipes and dormer window in a Mansard roof and Gothic Revival ornamental stone trims, mounts and detailing.

Look more closely and you can see that on Maybanke’s new skin the attention to detail has been even more extraordinary than its neighbour’s original details. For Maybanke circa-2017 an expert local stonemason was employed, sculpting the exquisite details above the doors and windows to sketches by AJ+C project architect Caroline Kite’s design.
But it’s only once inside the front door that the visitor can appreciate quite how ambitious the vision for the total structure – old and new wings – has been.

Linking the home’s levels is a glass-enclosed lift and, the renovation’s most striking element, the staircase. “It maximises the sense of volume and then we used the glass lift to provide daylight and vistas through the space on all levels,” says Koopman. “It’s a delicate stair conceived as a piece of black steel and timber furniture.”

Dropping down beside the length of the stair is a tensioned steel screen as balustrading, fabricated in and imported from Germany (“three rolls of heavy metal”, says Jim).

Fitting such an exacting contemporary architectural element in an old building was no easy feat. “There’s a lot of science and technology to make it all work and so that it can be adjusted over the years – Caroline, the project architect, did a great job.”

The five-floor scheme, Koopman explains, hinges around the idea that during the working week it’s the middle two floors that are lived in. “It equates to a one bedroom apartment over two levels with direct access from the street,” he says. The rest of the time the home is designed as a place to entertain friends and accommodate the owners’ visiting families.

One enters Maybanke at the level of the master bedroom suite with its impressive walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom overlooking the harbour.

At the level below the street, via lift or exposed concrete staircase – is the main living space, facing north east over its little inner western corner of Sydney Harbour known as Snails Bay.

On the level above the street are the guest bedrooms and living spaces.

Beneath the Mansard roof on the top level is self contained space that can operate variably as a home office, guest accommodation or a New Years Eve entertaining space. The space also boasts a small roof deck facing the harbour. 

And finally an artists studio has been excavated from the sandstone opening out onto the garden terraces and lilypond.

Today, with light pouring in from the windows facing the harbour beyond, it’s hard to picture the wet dungeon the space must have been.

On this level, today there’s also a wine cellar (and an impressive collection of single malt scotch), leading off from the kitchen, a laundry and store. The dining area opens to another deck overlooking the garden, complete with plunge pool, which steps down to the harbour’s edge, far below.


Data Sheet

Design Team

Architect: AJ+C

Interior Architect: AJ+C

Landscape Architect: Terragram


Clients

Naomi Simson and Stuart King


Consultants

Heritage: Design 5

Structural: James Taylor and Associates

Planner: SJB Planning

Hydraulics: JCL Solutions

Quantity Surveyor: QS1

Lighting: DJ Coalition & Erco


Contractor

Capital Construction and Refurbishing


Words

Guy Allenby


Photography

Michael Nicholson, Rose Repetti


About Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C)

AJ+C is an award-winning, boutique architectural practice offering crafted designs for a diverse range of clients.


Their people and culture, collaborative client relationships, and design approach all contribute to the successful delivery of innovative and sensitive designs that enrich people’s lives, and sympathetically respond to the community and environment in which they sit.

- 30 -


Media contact
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - “Maybanke Anderson was significant in Australia’s<br>history because she was a suffragette, and was<br>responsible for bringing the [women’s right to] vote<br>to Australia. She started a preparatory school for<br>women to enter Sydney University and she also was<br>instrumental in raising the age of consent for girls,<br>from 12 to 16.<br><br>She was an incredibly powerful woman of her time.<br>Maybanke was a divorcee. Her divorce was one of<br>1500 that went through all at the same time, because<br>she was also instrumental in getting the divorce<br>provisions into law.<br><br>And then, of course, she couldn’t own the house. Her<br>ex-husband owned the house. So her brother, Norman<br>Selfe had to recover the title deed for this house, back<br>for Maybanke. And then she went on to create a hold<br>of kindergarten schools and Maybanke School...”<br><br>- Stuart King, Owner of Maybanke<br>on Maybanke Anderson, Australian Suffragette - Photo credit: Historical photographs, Michael Nicholson, Rose Repetti<br>
“Maybanke Anderson was significant in Australia’s
history because she was a suffragette, and was
responsible for bringing the [women’s right to] vote
to Australia. She started a preparatory school for
women to enter Sydney University and she also was
instrumental in raising the age of consent for girls,
from 12 to 16.

She was an incredibly powerful woman of her time.
Maybanke was a divorcee. Her divorce was one of
1500 that went through all at the same time, because
she was also instrumental in getting the divorce
provisions into law.

And then, of course, she couldn’t own the house. Her
ex-husband owned the house. So her brother, Norman
Selfe had to recover the title deed for this house, back
for Maybanke. And then she went on to create a hold
of kindergarten schools and Maybanke School...”

- Stuart King, Owner of Maybanke
on Maybanke Anderson, Australian Suffragette
Photo credit: Historical photographs, Michael Nicholson, Rose Repetti
Download
Medium-resolution image
3.61 x 7.13
300dpi

~ 800 KB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  View of Maybanke from Wharf Road with original front and side facades restored from it's unsympathetic 1930's conversion. The bay windows, balconies, chimneys, copper downpipes and dormer window in a mansard roof, and gothic revival stone trims, mounts and detailing were reinstated.<br>  - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
View of Maybanke from Wharf Road with original front and side facades restored from it's unsympathetic 1930's conversion. The bay windows, balconies, chimneys, copper downpipes and dormer window in a mansard roof, and gothic revival stone trims, mounts and detailing were reinstated.
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
17.68 x 20.8
300dpi

~ 13 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - View of the harbour facade, garden and pool<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
View of the harbour facade, garden and pool
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
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Very High-resolution image
17.68 x 26.51
300dpi

~ 25 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  The original stone foundation wall is a feature of the dining room and kitchen. The exposed sandstone has around eight ex-convict signature 'sparrow picking' styles inscribed from when the original structure was built in the 1870's. There was a few stonemason's around Sydney at that time so it was common to use this technique as a way of signing each block.<br>  - Photo credit: MIchael Nicholson<br>
The original stone foundation wall is a feature of the dining room and kitchen. The exposed sandstone has around eight ex-convict signature 'sparrow picking' styles inscribed from when the original structure was built in the 1870's. There was a few stonemason's around Sydney at that time so it was common to use this technique as a way of signing each block.
Photo credit: MIchael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
25.52 x 17.68
300dpi

~ 20 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  The kitchen splashback has mirror faced cabinets to increase the sense of space<br>  - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
The kitchen splashback has mirror faced cabinets to increase the sense of space
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
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Very High-resolution image
25.3 x 17.68
300dpi

~ 15 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - “The architecture is very robust and direct. It draws its strength from simplicity and the materials the house is built from. We wanted to respond to that character, that strength, and create a softness and tactility that provides a space for the people living there. There is a lot of warmth, glow, and texture, from timber and luscious marbles. They are counter-posed against the concrete walls, the concrete floors and stainless steel benchtops.”<br><br>- Kerry Fyfe, Interior Architect for Maybanke - Photo credit: MIchael Nicholson<br>
“The architecture is very robust and direct. It draws its strength from simplicity and the materials the house is built from. We wanted to respond to that character, that strength, and create a softness and tactility that provides a space for the people living there. There is a lot of warmth, glow, and texture, from timber and luscious marbles. They are counter-posed against the concrete walls, the concrete floors and stainless steel benchtops.”

- Kerry Fyfe, Interior Architect for Maybanke
Photo credit: MIchael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
25.5 x 17.68
300dpi

~ 19 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - The originial Mansard roof was reconstructed and now forms a series of folded planes in the ceiling of the studio space.<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
The originial Mansard roof was reconstructed and now forms a series of folded planes in the ceiling of the studio space.
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
High-resolution image
16.19 x 16.19
300dpi

~ 10 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - “Every tread is hand crafted so the staircase almost feels like a piece of jewellery inserted into the space” <br><br>- Jim Koopman, Design Director for Maybanke<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
“Every tread is hand crafted so the staircase almost feels like a piece of jewellery inserted into the space”

- Jim Koopman, Design Director for Maybanke
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
17.68 x 26.5
300dpi

~ 14 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  &nbsp;"When you walked in the front door, you entered a space that felt like a rabbit warren with a narrow contorted stairwell - there was no sense of arrival that grand stairs of those old houses often had. <br> <br> As we had to connect five storeys… the stair became the most important interior gesture of the house. It was designed to transform the stairwell into a vertical volume, day lit by a skylight and a glazed lift shaft that also provides wonderful glimpses of Sydney Harbour as you move through the stair." <br><br>- Jim Koopman<br>Design Director for Maybanke<br>   - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
 "When you walked in the front door, you entered a space that felt like a rabbit warren with a narrow contorted stairwell - there was no sense of arrival that grand stairs of those old houses often had.

As we had to connect five storeys… the stair became the most important interior gesture of the house. It was designed to transform the stairwell into a vertical volume, day lit by a skylight and a glazed lift shaft that also provides wonderful glimpses of Sydney Harbour as you move through the stair."

- Jim Koopman
Design Director for Maybanke
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
17.68 x 25.83
300dpi

~ 19 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  Detail of the tensioned steel screen that drops down besides the length of the stairs as balustrading across three levels.<br>  - Photo credit: Rose Repetti<br>
Detail of the tensioned steel screen that drops down besides the length of the stairs as balustrading across three levels.
Photo credit: Rose Repetti
Download
High-resolution image
11.52 x 15.36
300dpi

~ 15 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture -  The tensioned steel screen, while visually it is incredibly light, it is extremely heavy and is supported by a substantial structural frame.<br>  - Photo credit: Rose Repetti<br>
The tensioned steel screen, while visually it is incredibly light, it is extremely heavy and is supported by a substantial structural frame.
Photo credit: Rose Repetti
Download
High-resolution image
10.79 x 14.39
300dpi

~ 13 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - French doors opening out to the original, street-facing guest room balcony<br> - Photo credit: Rose Repetti<br>
French doors opening out to the original, street-facing guest room balcony
Photo credit: Rose Repetti
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12.31 x 18.43
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~ 7.5 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - Timber batten wall in the dining room and kitchen<br> - Photo credit: Rose Repetti<br>
Timber batten wall in the dining room and kitchen
Photo credit: Rose Repetti
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Very High-resolution image
13.33 x 20.0
300dpi

~ 11 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - Master En-suite<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
Master En-suite
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
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26.5 x 17.68
300dpi

~ 12 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - The artists studio opens out to the deck and garden, with views of Snails Bay in Sydney Harbour.<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
The artists studio opens out to the deck and garden, with views of Snails Bay in Sydney Harbour.
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
High-resolution image
15.19 x 15.19
300dpi

~ 9.9 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - Naomi  Simon, owner of Maybanke, is an Australian Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, LinkedIn  influencer and Shark on Shark Tank TV show. She enjoys painting in her Artist Studio.<br> - Photo credit: Michael Nicholson<br>
Naomi Simon, owner of Maybanke, is an Australian Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, LinkedIn influencer and Shark on Shark Tank TV show. She enjoys painting in her Artist Studio.
Photo credit: Michael Nicholson
Download
Very High-resolution image
17.68 x 25.02
300dpi

~ 16 MB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - South Elevation<br> - Photo credit: AJ+C
South Elevation
Photo credit: AJ+C
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11.03 x 7.8
300dpi

~ 310 KB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - North Elevation<br> - Photo credit: AJ+C
North Elevation
Photo credit: AJ+C
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High-resolution image
11.03 x 7.8
300dpi

~ 660 KB
Press kit | 3004-01 - Press release | Maybanke - AJ+C - Residential Architecture - West Elevation<br> - Photo credit: AJ+C
West Elevation
Photo credit: AJ+C
Download
High-resolution image
11.03 x 7.8
300dpi

~ 620 KB
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