The Majestic Theatre

History Reinvented: The Majestic Theatre

A stunning art deco masterpiece located in Sydney’s inner west, the Majestic Theatre has been many things since its construction in 1920.

A roller skating rink, a cinema, a social club – and now a uniquely refurbished residential apartment complex complete with ground-level retail spaces.

The transformation has seen the existing exterior retained, while the space within has been converted into street-fronting retail spaces and three levels of residential apartments – no two of which are the same.

The result is a mergence of heritage charm and modern design, creating a building that is incredibly liveable whilst also remaining an aesthetically pleasing part of the streetscape. Much of the original brickwork, steel, plaster and timber are celebrated and contrasted with modern components such as plasterboard and painted render – all of which is dramatized with a thread of well-detailed galvanized steel mesh and balustrades.

The exterior, entranceway and communal spaces feature relics of the original theatre, from signs and light fittings through to ornate cornices.

The Majestic Theatre now stands as a refurbished masterpiece; a welcome change to the generally disappointing mid-rise apartment buildings that are becoming all too common across Australia.

Mulberry Group’s role in the project

Engaged by the project builders, Growthbuilt, Mulberry managed the remodelling of the internal fit-out, from carpentry work through to fitting bathroom accessories.

The project began with the removal of the existing stage within the theatre. This was a very critical part of the job, particularly in terms of safety. The timber spanned the full width of the building and had to be elevated off the floor before removal could take place.

The ceiling and roofing required refurbishment. This began with removing water damage and asbestos, as well as some repairs to the roof structure. The existing heritage truss frames needed reinforcing, while the roof needed to be restructured accordingly. The truss frames were a hidden gem never before exposed in the building’s history; they were kept and actually became internal features in many of the apartments.

In some cases, the pressed tin ceilings were damaged due to rust; these were removed and replaced with timber ceiling frames and fibreglass mouldings. In order to create the fibreglass mouldings, we carefully removed one of each type and set up custom moulds in the warehouse which allowed us to re-create the moulds and install them where the existing pressed tin ceilings were in need of replacement.

Two dome skylights were also fitted, alongside new timber mouldings and lining.

We also organised the installation of steel-fabricated balconies, balcony decking and aluminium screens; these balconies extended out over the laneway and provided outdoor space.

As with any heritage restoration and renovation, the idea is always to try and retain the old-world charm that’s so hard to replicate. We fitted custom-made leadlight windows to the façade and restored the original front doors complete with new glass. In addition, we repaired existing sculptures, reinstalled old roller skating rink signs and installed the new Majestic Theatre signage.

Mulberry also customised steel fabrication for the front awning.

Within the residential apartments themselves, we reinstalled mezzanine floors and fitted attic ladders in order to maximise internal living space. Many of these mezzanine levels featured windows within the roofline to maximise natural light.

An apartment complex with a difference

As generic apartment complexes flood Australian cities, unique and carefully refurbished buildings such as the Majestic Theatre allow suburban areas to retain a sense of heritage charm while catering to population growth.

Mulberry is proud to have taken part in the project and we look forward to seeing the Theatre remain part of Sydney’s streetscape for many years to come.

Project Name: The Majestic Theatre

Project Type: Apartments

Location: Petersham, NSW

Year Completed: 2012

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