In this project a specific, historic example – Charles Garnier’s Opera de Paris – is dissected and transformed to inform a post-industrial heritage space closer to home.
A 3-storey brick warehouse shell in the Foy and Gibson complex in Collingwood has been remodelled from a 200sq.m bedsit to a flexible 3 bedroom apartment. Reworking the idea of stage, theatre box, and back-of-house required a re-examination of domestic space and introduced playful drama.
The ‘front’ areas (closest to the street, views and windows) become the stage and revel in the glory of the building’s heritage.
Vertical circulation is inserted into the deep, isolated ‘back’ of the plan to provide filtered natural light and snippets of views.
The ‘middle’ is the interstitial blackness between foyer and seats; between dressing room and stage; the furtive shadows at the back of the theatre box.
The public ‘display’ spaces are treated with rich, patterned, lavishness. Economical materials are often used inventively to achieve this effect. In contrast the back-of-house palette is honest and utilitarian.
The project seeks to achieve overall cohesion between both front and back and between old and new. Like the Paris Opera, this project uses revelation and concealment to create tension and theatrical effect.
Builder: Sheringham Construction
Photographer: Erica Lauthier