A difficult brief has resulted in this surprising project which challenges accepted tenets of ‘good design’. A large, ungainly and incomplete house has been transformed into a finely detailed contemporary home for a family and an extensive collection of indigenous art. The 70 square structure included an unfinished indoor pool, an ugly stair and excessively large non-functional spaces which had been designed without any consideration of energy efficiency principles.
The challenge presented by this building is the irony of fabricating history by constructing a building of neo-classical appearance and then altering it in a contemporary manner. However, once one has recovered from the shock of such tenets of ‘good design’ being blatantly flouted, one can see how skilfully the designer has responded to the brief, and why this project is worthy of this award.
The façade presents as an upmarket art gallery or retail establishment. Internally the aesthetic is exquisitely contemporary. The designer has used period type detailing only where it makes a positive contribution. Contrast is the byword, with heavily moulded entry doors set into an expansive shopfront-like wall of glass. A once cumbersome stair has been transformed through expertly crafted plaster and the introduction of a curving screen wall of vertical timber battens. A restrained but luxurious palette of materials and finishes runs throughout, punctuated by striking elements such as the ‘media wall’ and bar splashback of black glass.
A project of this type could so easily have failed. That it has not is testament to the designer's skill and creative vision.
Residential Design – Alterations & Additions: Over $500k Construction Cost