Low and Lean – Bridge House by Kister Architects

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Architecture by Kister Architects
Photography by Peter Bennetts
Interior Design by Kister Architects
Styling by Jess Kneebone
Landscape Design by Acre
Engineering by OPS Engineers
Joinery by Evolve

Bridge House sees the expansion of an existing modernist-era home to the newly acquired limits of the neighbouring allotment. Kister Architects references the original experimental and low-lying formal approach of the existing home in conceiving the new addition.

Set among similar era structures in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield, Bridge House is a typified reminder of its origins – a legacy that formed an important part of the brief. Having been originally designed and built within a time of new-found expanses due to the introduction of steel in the construction process, the original home featured an open internal series of spaces. Contained within a regular and tightly formed outer shell, the overall silhouette featured a strong linear expression. Having acquired the adjacent site, the owners were then able to elaborate on the existing building, with Kister Architects paying due homage to the 1970s multi-level home and honouring the origins of the structure.

Ensuring the original design principles of the home and the modernist movement were carried forward, Acre was engaged early in the process, seeing an open connectedness between the interior and the landscape.

Ensuring the original design principles of the home and the modernist movement were carried forward, Acre was engaged early in the process, seeing an open connectedness between the interior and the landscape. The dotting of internal courtyard spaces and linear plans popular in the 1970s ensured there was a constant reminder of the natural from every room ¬– a feature that was retained. Bridge House resists the urge to build with excessive scale; instead, the focus sees a quality addition to the original. Maintaining those core bonds between the architecture and the landscape continued as an important part of the residence’s story.

Though the original plan was to expand both storeys of the form, the result sees a more reserved approach where only a single level addition emerges. A measured process ensured the new work felt synonymous with the original structure, where the scale was not encumbered, using landscape and increased access to natural light to blur the lines between old and new. A focus on light both expands on the inserted glazing throughout and sees skylights inserted into the ceiling to bring new light shards into the home.

Bridge House resists the urge to build with excessive scale; instead, the focus sees a quality addition to the original.

Incorporating a balance of light and dark with retreat and connection, Bridge House is a sophisticated contemporary home that responds to its site with consideration. In working with the desires of the client, Kister Architects has extended on the important features of the original home whilst embedding a modern sensibility.