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Maintaining a rhythm in the Newtown streetscape

Maintaining a rhythm in the Newtown streetscape

By combining considered design with respect for the past and surroundings, Newtown Lighthaus has been transformed into a refreshing and contemporary home of lightness.

Newtown Lighthaus by Sandbox Studio is located in the densely populated Newtown area of inner west Sydney. Given its patchwork urban location, the design of the modern addition was carefully planned to blend seamlessly with the collection of historic homes in the area. To this end, the architects conducted an extensive study of the established built form and architectural urban language to ensure the new works were integrated sensitively.

The original Federation-era cottage remains at the front of the residence, with its frontage restored to its former glory, highlighting the original detail and ornateness of its masonry and timber elements. The more dramatic and transformational elements occur beyond the original cottage, with an addition that spreads over multiple levels.

The main spine corridor draws movement through the home and out into the lofted shared space. The designers ensured an open lightness throughout, seamlessly intertwining old and new elements.

The home has been conceived as a place of recharge and retreat, and features a palette of muted and neutral tones. These finishes and textures carry throughout the old and new elements, binding the eras together while maintaining their references to time. Light wells and windows bring natural light into the home, while warming timber elements balance the cooler whites and natural stone tones.

The new multilevel addition sits to the rear of the original dwelling, breaking up the overall form, while timber cladding on the upper level creates a lightweight appearance. This screening element provides solar and heat gain control and adds interest and depth to the rear elevation.

Architecturally it was critical that this addition acknowledge the diversity within the streetscape, and thoughtfully add to the eclecticism of the neighbourhood.

Project details

Architecture – Sandbox Studio
Photography – Kat Lu

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Aleesha Callahan is the editor of Habitus. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Aleesha seeks out the unique people, projects and products that define the Indo Pacific region. Aleesha was previously the editor of Indesignlive.com and has written and contributed to various publications and brands in her 10 years in the architecture and design industry, bringing intimate insight to her stories having first trained and practised as an interior designer. Her passion for mid-century design and architecture began while living and working in Berlin.