Jones Bay Wharf, constructed between 1911 and 1919, was one of the first Pyrmont wharves built by the Sydney Harbour Trust. The wharf consists of two nearly 300 metre long, double-level shed buildings. In a collaborative design partnership, OCP Architects were part of the team that transformed Jones Bay Wharf into an exemplary example of adaptive reuse along Sydney Harbour.
As a requirement of development approval, OCP Architects prepared and oversaw implementation a heritage conservation strategy for the wharf and buildings. Heritage action plans were developed as part of the strategy containing detailed methodologies for the removal and labelling of heritage fabric, the storage of salvaged fabric, the maximum retention of fabric as well as specific actions for its repair and conservation.
Retaining the sense of the original expansive internal spaces was of high importance. Although internal spaces could not remain in their original configuration, by limiting subdivisions within tenancies, especially in the southern half of the site, and the inventive placement of mezzanine floors, which allowed large, open uninterrupted spaces, the sense of scale and space of the original form can still be appreciated. The design also allowed major structural elements such as steel columns, girders and roof trusses to remain visible.
The adaptation for commercial office space also required larger glazed areas. To avoid dramatically altering the existing rhythmic chequerboard pattern of void (open cargo doors) and solid (weatherboard and metal cladding), external sliding louvres were introduced in the bays where cladding was removed.
Ideally located on the edge of the harbour, making the most of Sydney’s outdoor climate, tenants and the general public can now enjoy the benefits afforded by the adaptive re-use of an large obsolete marine structure for commercial office and retail use has assured the survival of the Jones Bay Wharf complex.
This work has assured the survival of the Jones Bay Wharf, a prominent yet previously underutilised item of Sydney’s heritage. The success of this project is reflected in it receiving the highest national heritage award, the RAIA NSW Chapter Greenway Award and Award for Heritage & Adaptive Reuse Development.