A Thoughtful Repurposing – Conservatory Adaptation by Architecture Associates
Caulfield, VIC, Australia

Photography Rory Gardiner
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Sitting within an existing Victorian era purpose-built steel and glass structure, Conservatory Adaptation is the reworking and repurposing of a benign volume to align with the current owners’ engagement with their home. Architecture Associates carefully insert supporting elements to allow an embrace of the unused and bring in meaningful life.

In its location in Caufield, Conservatory Adaptation sits self-explanatory in its conversion from the original plant-filled sanctuary into its current light-filled occupation as a useable extension of the lived experience of the home. Forming part of its stately surrounds, the conservatory was initially an addition to the 1890’s Victorian era home it accompanies, serving as a covered breakaway space within the home, encouraging light through its generous opaque panels overhead. The recent iteration brings a series of insertions that add and elaborate on the existing, while allowing the existing to remain respected. Unlike the formality of the original home, which clearly delineated between zones and where separation was celebrated, the contemporary home operates in a much more connected and liberated way, sharing zones and engaging beyond the building edges. The new works aim to embrace new ways of living while remaining within the guise of the old, where Architecture Associates inject new purpose in place.

The existing Villeroy and Boch tiles offered a bold blue consideration which was carried through, and the use of a soft timber hue offers warmth while connecting to a crafted handmade quality between old and new.

As a collaboration between builder Latrobe Building Services and joiner Chapman and Bailey, Conservatory Adaptation is the product of a carefully woven process. The new sits within the existing and fittingly needed to integrate a series of new layers to an existing story, delicately and respectfully. As a result, a sensitive approach is broken down into a series of small-scale elements that connect the across styles and eras and hint at the new occupation. The original was looked to for inspiration, in particular in forming an appropriate palette and the resulting approach. The existing Villeroy and Boch tiles offered a bold blue consideration which was carried through, and the use of a soft timber hue offers warmth while connecting to a crafted handmade quality between old and new.

The inserted 13m joinery piece stands almost as its own object in space. Housing a kitchen and storage, the piece also includes supportive functional elements for the space as an active living area of the home. In its dynamism, the object opens and allows the space to be transformed. From a gathering space, living area or auditorium to watch films, the inserted spine facilitates an array of activities and functions. The piece also serves as a display of its own, with framed artworks, books and select objects accommodated to enliven the space as needed.

The inserted 13m joinery piece stands almost as its own object in space.

The kinetic nature of its comprising elements sees Conservatory Adaptation as an active insertion within its intricately layered home. Architecture Associates have carved a delicate program of functions through careful craft, resulting in a its useful re-engagement of the conservatory within the heritage home.

Published 10 June, 2021
Photography  Rory Gardiner
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