Located in a conservation zone, the project involved a subdivision into two lots of an existing site as a heritage listed property. The front lot contained the original two storey Italianate residence and garden. The rear lot consisted of a development incorporating the existing two storey weatherboard stables with contemporary additions to form a new family residence.
Significant to the project and the streetscape was the established hierachy of built form in the area. That the main buildings along Howe Crescent were dominant over the smaller buildings such as stables, garages and sundry outbuildings located to the rear properties. The subdivision reinforced this concept with the front corner lot occupying two thirds of the original title area and the rear corner lot development occupying the remaining third.
Given the nature of the development and the historic significance of the existing buildings, the project called for a mediative design solution incorporating strategies of juxtaposition, montage and collation. Working directly with Heritage Victoria and Allom Lovell & Associates, the intent was to maintain the new elements as clearly distinguishable from the existing in terms of built form and materials. Important to the design was the creation of an interstitial space between the stables and the new residential form as a place of transition and dialogue – a space to negotiate between traditional architectural opposites; new and old; light and dark; figure and ground ; inside and out. The purpose to confound these oppositions refusing to choose either/or but working instead with situation, shadows, folds and connections.
The project in construction proved as challenging as the theoretical approach in its evolution.