Around the turn of the 20th century, when Australia became a commonwealth, houses sporting terra-cotta roof tiles, brick chimneys, clay pots, and prominent verandas sprouted up across the country’s burgeoning suburbs. A kind of down-under take on the Queen Anne style, Federation architecture was aesthetically dominant for decades.
The style’s charms are still evident today. But so are its limitations, particularly the way traditional examples all-too-successfully separated the inside from the outside. At least, that’s what a family of five thought when they commissioned Edition Office to rethink their circa-1907 house. The structure felt distinctly disconnected from its surroundings, at once too dark and too visible from the bustling street before it.
“What we wanted to do,” Kim Bridgland, a director of the Melbourne-based Edition Office, told AN Interior, “was to visually stitch the project into the fabric of its neighborhood.” Perhaps counterintuitively, this involved walling off the original house via a discreet expanse of recycled brick that rises just high enough to offer a glimpse of the domestic zones behind it. The brick wall wraps around the property, embracing the heritage architecture while encompassing newly built forms. These include a wing of social spaces and a pair of volumes atop the new structure’s concrete roof, dramatically upping the area of the home while also offering punctuation to the nearby rows of Victorian houses. (And respectfully not cutting off any of their neighbors’ access to sunlight.) The brickwork has a custom finish that is scraped on with a trowel and dry rubbed with a sponge, which unifies the wall. It continues inside and is also used for the kitchen island.
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