Contemporary Restraint – Corner Virginia by Studio Prineas
Kensington, NSW, Australia

Photography Chris Warnes
Architecture Studio Prineas
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Engineer Partridge

Sitting neatly behind its heritage façade, Corner Virginia is the restoration and extension of an existing home in Sydney’s inner south. Studio Prineas draws on a contemporary, restrained approach to propose a home suited to the modern family, incorporating native garden elements and contextual sensibilities.

Ensuring minimal impact, the extension sees new volumes appear at the rear, opening up to the landscaped garden, and sitting within the silhouette of the front of the home. The streetscape remains unchanged, allowing the revised modern brief to be fulfilled with minimal interruption to the period façade. Corner Virginia sits nestled into the inner southern suburb of Sydney’s Kensington and sees the combining of the old and the new to create the ideal family setting for gathering, socialising and for the everyday. Studio Prineas combines a contemporary unfurled cleanness with elements of refinement to connect to the home’s past.

Ensuring minimal impact, the extension sees new volumes appear at the rear, opening up to the landscaped garden, and sitting within the silhouette of the front of the home.

Ensuring minimal impact, the extension sees new volumes appear at the rear, opening up to the landscaped garden, and sitting within the silhouette of the front of the home.

Built by Connect Constructions, together with engineering by Partridge, the addition is highlighted by a glazed connecting link, emphasising and celebrating the transition between the eras. In this portal, native Australian plantings fill the courtyard below, acting as a reminder to both built elements of the site’s origins and emphasising a sense of place. Ensuring the rear sat within the outline of the original home required the lowering of the rear footprint, to allow for the two-level addition to sit comfortably. On the lower level, a large living, dining and kitchen space is created to facilitate gatherings and encourage social engagement, while on the upper floor a new bedroom and sleeping suite sits, with the addition of both bathroom and study areas. The original home is then restored, extending its life.

The restraint is evident in both the proposed formal response to the site and also in the parts that comprise the new works. The use of a monochromatic palette combines with natural stone, textural brick and warming timber to create a relevant and contemporary base. Layered further are furniture, lighting and artwork that both speak to the personalities of the owners and to the way in which they use their spaces. Each piece offers a more temporary addition, which can be changed over time, and all are sourced locally and sustainably to reduce the home’s environmental impact. The focus on locality was important to the client and can be seen imbedded throughout the project. Made from Paper rock, the kitchen joinery has its own light-footed story where a condensed and durable form of paper is made into surface panels suitable and comparable to other joinery finishes. And Australian hardwood decking to the rear and recycled brickwork further continue this emphasis.

The streetscape remains unchanged, allowing the revised modern brief to be fulfilled with minimal interruption to the period façade.

Corner Virginia sits nestled into the inner southern suburb of Sydney’s Kensington, and sees the combining of the old and the new to create the ideal family setting for gathering, socialising and for the everyday.

Corner Virginia sees a modest addition extend and expand on the previous home while also restoring its original parts. Studio Prineas uses an understanding of context and through sensibilities and site sensitives creates a modern home that combines the past and the future, connected through its subtle similarities.

Published 25 September, 2020
Photography  Chris Warnes
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