Respectfully recrafting the bones of an existing heritage home that forms part of an important historical area of Hobart, Arthur Circus is founded on restraint. Circa Morris-Nunn Chua carefully works with the existing heritage elements, retaining their essence, and proposes an addition that sits humbly and comfortably in place.
Sitting amongst a rightfully protected area of Hobart in Battery Point, Arthur Circus is a valued contributor to what is referred to as the ‘Circus’. Its early settlement vernacular reflects an important historical reminder of the founding’s of the city and remain in place with an uninterrupted streetscape rhythm. Working within these strict constraints, the modernising of Arthur Circus took careful precision and resulted in a separate pavilion form to the rear of the site, separated by an expressed glass connecting walkway. Drawing on the owners’ love of wine, and the integration of core local materiality, the new becomes a carefully crafted addition to the old, through a similar handmade lens. Circa Morris-Nunn Chua infuses a contemporary sensibility through an open and connected series of spaces, while carrying through a similar volumetric understanding.
As an early urban experiment, the homes sit densely interwoven within one another, with their preservation forming an important part of the story of Hobart. Built by Lane Group, Arthur Circus is conceived from a place of simplicity, referencing back to ideas of rural sheds and mountain huts, as some of the earlier architectural impressions on the landscape. The internal encasing of the living space in Tasmanian oak, although not originally intended, aligns with ideas around locality and needing to build with materials within reach. Expressing the natural imperfections and undulations adds an element of character into the new spaces, while also adding a textural warmth.
Originally planned to shape the next chapter of the owners’ lives, the transition to the home marks a slowing down. And fittingly, the simplified nature of the original home and its addition reflect the same sentiment. Wanting to also host visiting family and friends, additional spaces for sleeping and also convening in the living areas were needed. Through a reconfiguring of the plan, the original main cottage sits pulled away from the addition, where a level change also adds for an increased sense of space and proportion and ensures it remains unseen from the street. Carefully positioned skylights and windows ensure the home becomes filled with natural light and creates a connection beyond, despite the constraints of the bounded site.
Through its measured approach, Arthur Circus adds a modern sensibility to the existing heritage. Circa Morris-Nunn Chua carefully ensures the longevity and relevance of the home.