We love our home, we really do. There is no better spot in the city than tucked behind the Markets, up a long staircase, gazing across the rooftops. Clients and Collaborators know our office from the long, seemingly endless staircase walk up.
But it's worth it once you get to the top.
Tectvs hung its last shingle on the red brick of the historic warehouse precinct in central Adelaide, squeezed between the narrow horse-and-cart laneways of Chesser Street and Coromandel Place. It shared its older-world neighbourhood with a mix of creative practices, boutique showrooms and the famed haunt next door of wine buffs and long-lunchers, Chesser Cellars. The clatter of stairway traffic over three levels, in narrow spaces under high ceilings, characterised the energy and enthusiasm of a young practice in its element. Practices grow and age, however, and the artist’s garret loses its appeal when antique services and cramped conditions begin to hinder performance. In 2005, after 15 years, it was time for Tectvs to find a new home to sustain the expression of its urban architectural language in its distinctly modernist dialect.
Tectvs took a ‘do for yourself as you do for others’ approach to resolving its accommodation needs. The opportunity arose in the form of a Victorian bluestone and red brick coach house in the back streets of the Central Market precinct. Tectvs teamed up with the engineer owner of the building, empty after its most recent incarnation as a showroom, to recycle it as contemporary office space and enhance its original character. The scenario was ideal, the approach instinctive, for a practice which had demonstrated repeatedly its ability to integrate contemporary spaces and infrastructure with historic building fabric without compromising its intrinsic qualities. The structure was manipulated to provide a lettable ground floor, first-floor offices and amenities for the engineering practice, and a new third mezzanine storey and roof terrace for the designers.
Tectvs inserted itself discretely into the old building via a side-street entry; a brass sign was the only clue to its presence at street level and an open steel stairway showed the way up through the exposed materials of the original structure. The studio floor and mezzanine level look out over the small workshops and processing plants of the immediate neighbourhood; the light-industry context is reflected in the unfussy glass and aluminium detailing of the addition. The integration of old and new was enhanced by the narrowness of the street effectively restricting views at eye level to brick and bluestone.
If you ever find yourself near the markets and enjoy stairs, come up and a have a coffee.