Breathing new life into an existing Edwardian gem, Rowena Parade sees the combining of crisp contemporary gestures together with a retained heritage character. Located in the tightly woven residential fabric of Melbourne’s Richmond, Techne’s expansion and renovation works bring an embracing pull of the surrounding landscape and garden settings inward, altering and elevating the experience of the home.
In combining the old and new, Techne director Nick Travers notes, “It was important we celebrated the home’s history, but also to maximise the site’s potential with the most fitting contemporary extension.” Through opening up to the rear, the existing formal elements remain in place in the front of the home, while the new emerges as a connected series of living zones, opening to the outdoors.
“It was important we celebrated the home’s history, but also to maximise the site’s potential with the most fitting contemporary extension.”
As a key to combining the old with the new, Techne ensured the crafted and handmade elements of the original ornate stylings remained celebrated and restored. The existing planning and its formality then reinforce areas of private retreat and create a natural hierarchy internally. Intentionally, integrated elements are only in the new, leaving the existing as an expression of its era. Temporary and moveable furniture and additions then allow original cornicing and mouldings to be expressed as a key part of the narrative of the home, past and present.
In altering the home to allow for connection at its core, the focus was on the new addition as a place to gather and bring everyone together. Responding to the client’s brief, Nick says, “It needed to be a space that would allow (them) to live, work and entertain within the same zone.” The proposal for a floating pavilion became that answer.
The new form becomes a glass-encased volume that engages with the natural elements, and through its transparency and being wrapped in steel and glass vertical elements, becomes flooded with natural light and moving shadows throughout the day. In describing the addition, Nick says, “To strengthen the connection to the outdoors, we strategically added skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows to allow glimpses of neighbouring tree canopy and urban surroundings from any viewpoint in the extension.”
The differences between the old and new are clearly defined as the ornate and decorative transitions into the more streamlined and crisply detailed. As the hero of the home, the kitchen culminates through its expressed natural stone, together with the warming timber, both ahead and wrapping around the joinery elements. Through a focus on how the new extends the narrative of the old, and a keen focus on drawing connections between the built and the natural, Rowena Parade beautifully balances time and openness.
Architecture and interiors – Techne
Photography – Tom Blachford
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