Project: Victoria Gardens House
Architects: Lucy Clemenger Architects
Location: Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Project size: 250 m2
Photographer: Anniss Barton, Shannon McGrath
Text by Lucy Clemenger Architects
Victoria Gardens in Prahran is a hidden respite for locals from the dense bustling neighbourhood. Our approach was to further promote a sense of sanctuary throughout the design of the house by engaging with the adjacent park context. The design reworks an existing 1880s house into a contemporary family home.
What was the brief?
The brief was to create a contemporary home for a family of four that embraced the verdant park landscape at the rear of the site.
What were the key challenges?
The original house was in dire condition and required significant work.
A key challenge was how to provide privacy to the residents from the public domain, and at the same time enable a dialogue between the architecture, the natural surrounds and passers-by.
A further challenge was how to satisfy the requirements of a young family and conceal the clutter of everyday living.
What were the solutions?
The Victorian façade and verandah were reinstated, and the original house was carefully reworked to include a private master suite, formal sitting room and study.
The design of the extension utilises the concept of borrowed landscape and attempts to dissolve the boundaries between the park and site. The ground floor extension is embedded in the garden, whilst on the first floor, additional bedrooms are cocooned in a floating timber clad form.
Central to the design is the creation of distinct zones. An oak joinery unit that houses the ancillary functions of the residence connects the period house with its contemporary wing.
This multi-functional joinery unit is central to the experience of the interior; it acts as both a threshold between the past and present and contains the everyday workings of the house. Local artisans and trades people were engaged to build custom designed timber furniture and joinery.
The timber and natural material palette for the Victoria Gardens House was selected to reflect the materiality of the park. Cool greys, warm caramels and deep greens mimic the textures and colours found in the foliage and branches of the significant plane trees.
Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
The client was the architect, her partner and two young children. This resulted in a unique process during the design and construction of the project which was built as owner/builder.
How is the project unique?
The design addresses the history of the site and the unique park context, allowing layers of old and new histories to exist, as well as future-proofing the home for a young family.