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A commercial office building is transformed to include a new pied à terre, complete with internal courtyard

Architect Lindy Leuschke talks to senior writer Colleen Hawkes about a commercial building conversion that has created a very special urban eyrie.

In recent years, our inner cities have been revitalised by urban renewal. And one of the most exciting aspects of this has been the adaptive reuse of commercial buildings, such as the one featured here. Architect Lindy Leuschke, who was commissioned to design a major conversion, says the building was typical of the concrete edifices built in the 1960s. "It was a large, two-storey commercial building with a gabled roof, and it covered an entire corner site," Leuschke says. "The owners wanted to transform two-thirds of the building into new commercial space, and the remaining third was set aside to create their own 180m2 residence." From the street, there is just a little clue as to what lies beyond. Two steps lead to a private entry defined by a reflective green glass panel and a door to the side. "The shiny green glass is a lively contrast to the sombre mass of the concrete building," the architect says. "It defines the entry and gives it a human scale that is more appropriate to a private home. Similarly, the galvanised iron mesh at one side marks this as a residential entry -- it will eventually be covered in green vines and flowers."

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