Legion House

Legion House

Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD as part of the Liberty Place development, Legion House was originally constructed in 1902 by the YWCA and operated as a women’s hostel and outreach service for 60 years. The building, heritage listed and protected due to its social significance has been celebrated in the development, balancing the parallel challenges of continuing to protect the significance of a heritage building whilst enhancing the building’s overall utility and environmental performance.
Legion House incorporates three retail tenancies to the ground floor, (currently two are leased leased as one - i.e there are two tenants), and has been extended with two new office floors and a western extension providing additional office space. A new lift and stair have been located external to the building in an elegantly detailed, curved glass enclosure to minimise the heritage impact while both creating a new laneway entry to the building and visual interest. Additionally, this preserved spoor area within the existing building. The upper floor extension is set back along Castlereagh Street to mitigate the impact and maintain the dominance of the heritage facade to the street.

Legion House has set a new benchmark for heritage refurbishments and promotes the creation of sustainable city pre- cincts, having been refurbished as a fully zero carbon building.

Receiving little sun or wind Legion House receives its energy from biomass gasification, converting plant sourced materials (note: the intended source at Legion House is paper briquettes produce on-site from waste paper generated by the adja- cent commercial tower) into a combustible gas that is used to generate electricity. This is effectively a carbon zero energy source as the greenhouse gases released in the energy production equal that absorbed in creating the biomass. Whilst gasification systems are not new, they tend to be very large industrial systems, or back-yard hobbies. However, what is new at Legion House is the size and application in a city environment. Legion House aims to disconnect from the electricity grid, with any surplus power created by its independent system to be supplied to the commercial office tower on the site.

Consideration of the site’s rich history and by adopting a contemporary design approach to new elements and juxtaposing new design with heritage elements, Legion House achieves an authentic response to the buildings heritage values. Legion House also exemplifies how cultural significance and historic architectural features can be integrated with high-tech ESD to deliver a ‘best of both worlds’ building.

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