Located in a historical neighborhood in Melbourne, Australia, this Tyson Street home had been dilapidated for some time. It was one of many single-story cottages still subject to building restrictions similar to those in historical neighborhoods in the US, meaning that the structures must be salvaged rather than demolished. The cottage’s owner, however, wanted the house torn down and replaced with a two-story showcase of contemporary design. And he wanted it built without the expenditure and long waits that would be involved if it went before a planning hearing.
Jackson Clements Burrows, an architectural firm dedicated to finding design solutions, offered an unprecedented plan upon hearing the committee’s requirements. The new structure would have to fit the form, scale and details of surrounding houses and buildings. To do this, the façade would be covered with an image of the original historical home to preserve the view from the street. Superimposed onto glass, the virtual old house is up front and illuminated.
Reflections off the glass call attention away from the additions. Behind the visual façade, the interior opens up to plenty of sunlit living space, four bedrooms and a roof deck. Also out of sight from the street is a two-car garage. A sizeable eucalyptus tree was purposely saved as a historical landmark on the property. It influenced the interior, since indoor colors were harmonized with shades similar to that of the tree’s leaves and seasonal bark.
Questions have been raised about the legitimacy of this project as historically sound, but so far, the completed home has proven to fit within the guidelines. Until further notice, the owner is happy and the house has a sense of virtual belonging.
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