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A Remarkable Reworking Of A Humble Gold Coast Shack

Architecture

The original house on this Gold Coast site was a quasi-1970s homage to a traditional Queenslander, containing a mismatch of styles and additions. 

The owners and ME architects sought to retain much of the existing property, while improving connections to the outdoors. The brief also requested added privacy to the rear of the home, without losing the front garden’s engagement with the street.

The updated home achieves these desires and more, looking to the property’s history and context for inspiration.

18th October, 2021

Cantala Avenue House is a reworking of a 1970s Gold Coast home. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The owners and ME Architects sought to retain much of the existing property, while improving connections to the outdoors. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Carving outdoor spaces from the plan was the most important part of the project.  Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The lounge was reconfigured into a dining area/outdoor room. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The new main bedroom is separated from an en suite by a lush lightwell. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The existing house and the subtropical location was all the inspiration required for a remarkable reimagining. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Greenery, light and air now infiltrate the home. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The updated house meets the needs of contemporary life but also talks to the history and language of the existing. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

As the house sits in a natural gully, it had very little privacy to the rear, so some of the first design moves centred around the creation of the garden wall and landscape.  Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

ME Architects have provided privacy to the rear while reinforcing the connection with the garden and sub tropical climate. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Colours reference to the city’s rich history of holiday cottages and mid-century houses. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Materials followe the language of the existing house including weatherboard and red brick. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The front of the home engages with passersby, contributing to the street’s character and sense of community. Facade paint colours: Dulux COLORBOND® Surfmist® and Dulux Mint Mousse. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The character and shape of the original home has been retained. Facade paint colours: Dulux COLORBOND® Surfmist® and Dulux Mint Mousse. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The completed home is connected to place, climate, landscape and street. Facade paint colours: Dulux COLORBOND® Surfmist® and Dulux Mint Mousse. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Amelia Barnes
Monday 18th October 2021

‘We really have to reconsider this attitude of constantly demolishing and rebuilding anew.’ – Matthew Eagle

Matthew Eagle, founder and director of ME architects is not in the business of demolishing structurally sound homes. 

‘There is something to work with in every existing home, no matter what its bones are/history is,’ he explains. ‘We really have to reconsider this attitude of constantly demolishing and rebuilding anew. The Gold Coast specifically has a really rich built history and we should celebrate it instead of constantly trying to be something it’s not.’

The owners of this Miami, Gold Coast share the same attitude. Their existing 1970s property was unremarkable, but featured several rooms and a distinct character worth preserving.

The existing house and the subtropical location was all the inspiration required for a remarkable reimagining. Three existing bedrooms and a bathroom were retained to the west (requiring little more repainting); the lounge was reconfigured into a dining area/outdoor room; and the kitchen repositioned.

The north-east of the property contains the new additions, including a study to the front, and the main bedroom separated from an en suite by a lush lightwell. 

Carving these outdoor spaces from the plan was the most important part of the project. ‘Our process often begins with the development of the outside spaces and connection to the climate,’ says Matthew. ‘As the house sits in a natural gully, it had very little privacy to the rear, so some of the first design moves centred around the creation of the garden wall and landscape.  The small gardens carved from the new extension also allow for natural northern light into the new bedroom extension whilst providing protection from the harsh winter sun.’ 

At the same time, the front of the home engages with passersby, contributing to the street’s character and sense of community.

‘It’s not rocket science. A lot of time is dedicated to resolving practical issues but in a special way,’ Matthew says.

The completed project house meets the needs of contemporary life, but talks to the history and language of the existing property. It’s home connected to place, climate, landscape and street.

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