Australia and New Zealand were long established colonies of the British Isles and as such borrowed much from the old country. Architecture is an easily recognised example in this existing home of significant 1930s English-style. It’s a Brisbane landmark and holds historic and aesthetic clout as a much-loved residence in very good condition; yet its original design failed to optimise lifestyle in the sub-tropics.

location: Sherwood, Queensland, Australia | architecture: Shaun Lockyer Architects; Jen Negline – Project Leader | interior design: Shaun Lockyer Architects | photography: Cathy Schusler

The clients wished to recalibrate the house to respond to the needs of a young family, while retaining its historic character, balanced against that of contemporary lifestyle. A prerequisite was to better connect the house to its beautiful gardens, while introducing more light within an interior that was somewhat dark by virtue of its architectural character.

The result is a new extension built on the north-western corner of the structure, which houses the primary living space, main bedroom and garaging; all of which were originally inadequate. This new, very contemporary space in concrete and brick, is both a counterpoint and referential to the roof form of the original home, the most significant component of the heritage citation.

Says architect Shaun Lockyer: ‘This new living area incorporates a south-facing, frameless clerestory window that frames the gable of the heritage-listed roof adjacent. It represents a visual connection that is the conceptual underpinning of all the new work carried out on this project.

‘The balance of the house was largely upgraded with regards to finish and services, while overwhelmingly retaining the existing planning and detailing. A number of significant skylights were designed to fit into the original structure, liberating the dark passages and flooding the interior with natural light.’

Lockyer adds that the planning process was a challenge given the historic nature of the home, but ultimately it was positively supported by the local authority.

He elaborates: ‘The construction of new work in the undercroft of the existing house was an act of discovery in a forensic-like sense. It presented both challenges and opportunity that are reflected in the final outcome.

‘Existing British Bond, red brickwork, clay roof tiles and stucco plaster were the original materials of character. In response, we selected a new complementary brick that is in synch with both the colour of the roof and walls, while incorporating concrete as a contemporary juxtaposition to the rough stucco of the past.

‘Our design needed to acknowledge, respect and celebrate the important history of this home through a piece of architecture that, while contemporary, would endure through future generations – and yet reveal clues about how we live today.’


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