Date Built: 2012
Architect: Tony Caro Associates
19 storeys, 88 apartments, 12 terraces. Overlooks Waterfront Park. Site of CSR storage tanks
Surgeon Harris’s Ultimo Estate included the site of the present Silk, but it had little commercial value except for small-scale quarrying, until CSR began buying land in the 1870s. Soon afterwards, a Char House was built south of the Silk site, to burn animal bones for use in the refinery.
CSR had no other use for this land until 1901, when a distillery was built to produce rum, and then industrial spirits. As the distillery expanded, storage tanks were built down the slope (which became known as Distillery Hill) for molasses and spirits. Soon afterwards the City built an incinerator on Bank Street, to dispose of garbage. The blend of Char House and incinerator smells made this a noisome neighbourhood.
Across Bowman Street, another industry took shape in the 1940s: CSR built a caneite factory on the foreshore. From the 1940s onwards, Distillery Hill was an enclosed industrial complex: traffic entered Bowman Street through a gate between the caneite factory and the tanks; and the only vehicles were trucks and staff cars.
When CSR sold the complex, Lend Lease removed the tanks, the Char House and the factory (the incinerator had already been demolished). Bowman Street was widened, and planners had a clean and sweet-smelling sheet on which to design Silk.