Architecture Architecture has renovated and enlarged a house in Melbourne, Australia. The addition complements an older building that is one of the best-preserved early buildings of the Victorian Housing Commission – its main activity was the construction of houses and apartments in Melbourne from the late 1940s to the early 1970s for low-income families.
The new extension smoothly connects with the old part of the house: according to the authors of the Park Life House project, this approach allows you to respect the original building and at the same time reflect the individuality of the inhabitants of the house, the artist and the curator. In addition, the studio sought to make the project contextual, designing a spacious patio to live up to Melbourne’s nickname, the City of Gardens. One of the tasks was to contribute to the landscaping of the street landscape – in this area, all the streets are planned around the central park.
Upon entering the site, guests are greeted by a free-standing volume with a smoothly curved wall, which marks the boundaries of private property and at the same time seems to invite them to move on. Inside there is an art studio, from where the outside world can be observed through a round window, according to the architects’ idea, resembling an eye. The building does not obstruct either the courtyard or the facade of the house, allowing private space and the public cityscape to be connected to each other. Fencing off and adding privacy is easy by simply closing the sliding gates made of wooden slats, which, when open, are pressed against the wall of the house.
The interior space of the main house has been redesigned: it now consists of a series of successively unfolding rooms. Many of them are multifunctional, while all are connected and smoothly flow into each other. Each room overlooks the surrounding spaces, and some feel the constant presence of an open courtyard. The kitchen-living-dining area in the new extension is separated from it by a curved wall with panoramic glazing, which connects the courtyard with the interior space, lets in maximum natural light, and also creates a feeling of spaciousness in a rather modest living area.
The moment of connecting the old house and the new extension is marked by a raised threshold and a doorway, as if enclosed in a frame. Here white rectilinear walls gently give way to curved bricks and concrete. The calm and restrained palette that already existed in the old house was continued in its new part. Concrete, brick, wood and porcelain are used – textured and earthy materials that create a feeling of comfort and security. Here, at the junction of old and new, there is a small gallery where the inhabitants of this house can demonstrate their love for the fine arts.