A Continued Evolution – Bellevue Hill House V by Popov Bass
Bellevue Hill, NSW, Australia
Bellevue Hill House V sees Popov Bass return to the site of their original 1996 design to reconfigure and focus the home for its new custodians.
It is rare that architects get the opportunity to revisit a previous design, and to then be involved in its evolution is even rarer. But Bellevue Hill House V, located in the Sydney locale of the same name, provided exactly this chance for Popov Bass to take part in the renovation and extension of the home they had designed over 20 years ago. Prior, the emphasis was on the home as a gallery space, and the formal approach and natural and architectural lighting were proposed as such. The new focus, however, was on a more connected internal volume and sees the expansion of its original comprising parts upward with the addition of another storey.
Built by The Construction Connection, together with engineering by Partridge and joinery by Its Design, the home was reconfigured internally and expanded to suit a changed brief. Intentionally, the approach and appearance remain from the streetscape unchanged, with the framework of the home adjusted to accommodate the changed emphasis. Shifting from a light and art focused home, the new engagement sees the opening of the floorplan and an optimisation of surrounding views through the addition upward. The added texture, warmth and a softening of edges brings the home away from the more austere gallery aesthetic into a more familiar residential approachability.
The addition of an external terrace on the new level allows for an element of privacy and helps connect the internal with the external spaces. Leading the visitor both visually and geographically, is the long pathway that directs and greets upon entry. Working primarily within the original context, linking and opening up internal volumes was key, as was the softening of edges and blurring transitions between zones. Through the insertion of the rounded blade walls internally, the vertical and horizontal lines are reinforced and the double-heighted volume emphasised, leading the eye upward. The original gallery space is echoed in the entry vestibule, where the large front door beckons an invitation and the balance between the thin steel frame and translucent glass panels offers a transition portal.
Bellevue Hill House V represents the outcome of a rare and fortuitous opportunity, where Popov Bass’ re-engagement to continue to the legacy of the original design was embraced with enthusiasm. The integrity of the original design intent is clearly preserved, and the resulting home speaks to the adaptability of structures and the importance of placemaking. The result is a true connection between an owner and their home – a reflection of their values and an extension of the architects’ approach that stretches over more than two decades.