More than just a standard renovation and extension of an ageing 19th century building, this project was about allowing the architecture to age with grace and acknowledging its weathered state as a thing of beauty.
The architects’ response was inspired by the client’s assertion that she was simply the current caretaker of this ‘old lady’, a building that was built before her time and will likely succeed her. The design response was based on the concept of the house as an ‘old lady’ with a bustle dress; an exploration of beauty, ageing, utility and continuity.
The above-mentioned concept was addressed in the building’s side elevation.
For this, the architects created their drawings as if they were Victorian portraits of women taken in profile (historically used to illustrate women’s bustle dresses).
Essentially, the bustle dress became the architectural equivalent of how the extension would add character to the existing house without compromising its identity.
Positioned at the rear of the existing house, the new addition includes a kitchen, dining room, bathroom and laundry. Due to its position central to the site and adjacent to the garden, the extension acts to build and blur the relationship between the house and the backyard, as well as the adjacent houses.
The language of the bustle has been referenced through the curved walls and windows of the addition, as well as the curved timber fence that runs along the side of the house.
All of these elements work together to emphasise the existing house and enhance it to support modern needs, while also advocating for the existing house as a weathered, yet beautiful structure.