A Gallery-Like Family Home

When designing the Colonnade House in Melbourne’s East. Malvern, Splinter Society were tasked with creating a modern, concrete extension for grand Federation-era home. The vision was to bring these two very different architectural styles together into a single cohesive, family home.

With a robust materials palette and deep, moody colour scheme, the architects have done just that! The resulting home cleverly balances old and new, and provides the perfect gallery-like backdrop for the clients’ extensive collection of art.

There is a delicate skill involved in mediating between two very different architectural styles.

With this challenge in mind, Splinter Society Architects took great care to create cohesion between the heritage features of this Federation-era home, and the new contemporary extension they were engaged to design.

‘Our clients wanted an extension that respected but was distinctly different from the old heritage home. Where the heritage building was lightweight in nature, it contained closed, disconnected rooms and was badly sited resulting in a cramped feel,’ explains director, Chris Stanley. ‘The new extension was to be modern, robust, concrete form and well connected to its garden surrounds.’

The vision was to bring together the two vastly different expressions into a single cohesive, well-resolved family home.

To do so, private zones such as bedrooms, bathrooms and a study were tucked to the front of the single storey home, and traditionally partitioned.

The open-plan communal spaces were then organised around the kitchen and dining area, which stretch lengthways down the extension.

Deliberately oversized concrete columns face the kitchen and were the first part of the new form to be built. They now act as openings for light to stream through the northern-oriented spaces in the house and connect the kitchen with a view over the pool. Daybeds and sculpture plinths are nestled into the spaces between the colonnades – symbolising the dual purpose of the space as living zone and display gallery. Throughout the home, a dark and moody interior scheme connects the new and old sections of the home.

By balancing light-weight heritage features with contemporary concrete and industrial elements, Splinter Society were able to create a robust, interesting and layered home to meet their client’s brief.

‘We wanted something that felt monumental, timeless and gallery-like, while also being warm, tactile and homely,’ concludes Chris. And they succeeded.

Originally published on The Design Files

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