When engaged to renovate and extend this Victorian terrace, Matt Gibson Architecture + Design rejected the standard ‘box on the back’ approach.
‘We didn’t want the extension to sit in total contrast to the original home, because we wanted the movement between new and old spaces to feel smooth and harmonious,’ explains practice director Matt Gibson.
Instead, the architects looked to traditional ‘mews’ outbuildings for inspiration. Behind two front rooms (retained and updated to celebrate their existing period features) now sits two additional double-storey zones or ‘pavilions’, separated by internal courtyards. The central pavilion houses the main living areas, while the rear pavilion features a self-contained studio above a laneway-accessible garage.
The exterior of this latter volume is clearly contemporary, while derivative of the home’s classic street-facing facade.
A sense of openness has been achieved through the intervention of an elevated glass-floored bridge connecting the upper levels, and a glass-roofed walkway below. These glass corridors unlock the courtyard to improve privacy, solar access, and appreciation of the outdoor spaces. Warwick Constructions were responsible for the entire project build both indoors and out, with additional landscape design by Robyn Barlow Design and landscaping by Bespoke Landscapes.
‘The glazed bridge which runs over the central courtyard is a particularly special moment in the project,’ says Matt. ‘By maximising the upper floor footprint, we were able to reduce staircases in the design and achieve connection between the three volumes, without compromising on movement.’
Bricks from the demolished rear wing of the home have been painted white and reused on the pavilion masses. A similar colour palette is used inside, where pale timber panelling and white walls offer a lightness to the living spaces, contrasted with black steel in walkways and window frames.
The final design of this home respects and preserves its historic features and feel, alongside creative adaptations and insertions that allow for a contemporary way of living. Achieving privacy from the surrounding apartment buildings and flats, the home feels like an intimate hideaway, with surprising interactions between the built and natural environment.