Extending and Connecting – Buckingham Street by Three C Architects
Extending and connecting a timber-fronted cottage in Melbourne’s Richmond, Buckingham Street is the reinvigoration of the old by Three C Architects through refined details and an engagement with natural light and the outdoors.
Sewn into the familiar setting of single fronted workers cottages in the streets of Richmond, Buckingham Street is outcome of familiar story – the appropriate expansion and opening up of the previously rigid and formal planning to accommodate a contemporary brief. To maintain its original and important contribution to the area’s history and streetscape, the new works predominantly occur at the rear. While some restoration and extensions projects adopt one singular approach throughout, in this case the new and old are purposely contrasted against one another. Three C Architects adopts an open and vibrant approach to propose a home that extends from its historical origin and evolves into its rear, light-filled floor-to-ceiling glazed addition.
Built by Loft Property, together with landscape by Sophie McLean Landscape Design and artwork and furniture by Fenton and Fenton, the overall approach is one of vibrancy. While the foundational framework speaks to a sense of restraint and consideration of refined details and clean lines, the less permanent insertions speak to the essence of family life – one that is constantly being added to, developing and responding. The home’s existing details were restored in the front original cottage, and the rear emerges as a glass pavilion-type structure wrapped in metal. The volume then opens up to the rear garden that acts as an extension of the interior and becomes its own room.
Following a gallery approach to architectural lighting, there is a deliberate intentionality to its placement and to the functionality of the space, while also acting to support the engagement with natural light as priority. Maximising northern and southern light, the planning is broken down into both active gathering spaces and passive retreat zones. Key to bringing the old and new together (albeit contrastingly) is the expression of materiality in its honest and truest form. A palette of minimal finishes and a monochromatic approach allows natural timber and concrete to be expressed, while their textural variation adds interest. The external yard offers both a combination of hard and soft surfaces, allowing for a flexible use of space – much like the home itself.
To maintain its original and important contribution to the area’s history and streetscape, the new works predominantly occur at the rear.
Buckingham Street combines a simplified approach together with modernist principles to connect its home and express its past and present. Three C Architects celebrates the differing time narratives of the home, and in doing so, allows each their own spotlight.