This Beaux-Arts style building in Darlinghurst was built in 1927 as the First Church of Christ Scientist, featuring a grand auditorium and pipe organ, as well as a foyer accessed from the classical portico and a Sunday School on the lower ground floor. The Church vacated the building in 2010 and it was converted to a private residence. Now creatively adapted into office space, the building has become Yirranma Place, occupied by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
In 2018, Cornerstone commenced this adaptive re-use project to convert the building into commercial office space, to a design by SJB. NBRS prepared the Heritage Impact Statement and Updated Conservation Management Plan for the development application and have provided heritage advice throughout the construction works.
Conversion of the church into a private residence in 2010 included the addition of a two-storey structure within the auditorium. Other alterations over time had seen the building’s original steel windows replaced with aluminum and the addition of services and suspended ceilings concealing original features.
The project presented an exciting opportunity to reverse these intrusive alterations and reinstate aspects of the building’s original architectural quality. Steel windows were installed in the auditorium and lower ground floor, based on evidence of the original design. Conservation works were also carried out to the exterior of the building, including repairs to render and terrazzo.
During the construction works, suspended ceilings in the main foyer were removed, revealing the remnants of an original timber-framed light diffuser ceiling, electrically lit to simulate daylight. NBRS documented this original ceiling and worked with the project team to ensure that its central bay was reconstructed, incorporating the salvaged timber frames.
SJB’s design also saw the transformation of the roof space above the auditorium, creating a unique office space in which the steel trusses supporting the curved auditorium roof became a feature demonstrating the original construction of the building.