Carving a Sense of Clarity – Lansell House by Neil Architecture
Toorak, VIC, Australia
Carving out a sense of clarity between the old and new, Neil Architecture brings new life to the residual spaces of an inter-war era home. Lansell House sees a contemporary lightness applied against its heritage past.
Set within a neighbourhood of like-heritage homes, Lansell House sees home and the inherited legacy of its many previous lives injected with a new sense of purpose. The combining forces of the existing and the new come together in a way that expresses the era and heritage of each, respectfully celebrating their origins rather than competing. At the core of the works is a clear definition between the old and new.
Located in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak, the home is split over two levels, retaining the existing front façade and the original detailing internally. From this point, new elements are introduced with a purposed aim to ensure the new works do not impede on the streetscape or become a newly introduced series of forms to the site. Only as one walks around the driveway do the new works become visible on approach. This separation and concealment of the extension aims to further emphasise the original bones.
Lansell House sees home and the inherited legacy of its many previous lives injected with a new sense of purpose.
Tasked with untangling a series of intertwined and unrelated interior spaces, Neil Architecture chose to start afresh from behind the front-facing original rooms. The extension sees a new build from this point backward, allowing for a better cohesion of flow internally, and a sensible arrangement of related and connected zones. Clad in white zinc with concealed doors, the garage acts as a base for the additional upper level. The upper level then takes guise as a floating black box of sorts, articulated with a refined black frame. Connecting the old and new is a purposefully recessive transparent link between the upstairs retreat and two additional bedrooms.
Only as one walks around the driveway do the new works become visible on approach.
The heritage elements are expressed through the use of colour. Upon entry through the existing, a darker colour palette is applied to the entry, living room and study. The new is then denoted through a sense of lightness, where the view and flow of movement is generated toward the back courtyard and pool. This pull toward the more open and connected living areas deliberately centres around a sense of the informal, where polished concrete flooring and pale timber joinery come together. Light-coloured handmade bricks extend from the new living room outward, used externally and internally to create a sense of cohesion.
Neil Architecture chose to start afresh from behind the front-facing original rooms.
Lansell House brings a sense of clarity through informality and openness. Neil Architecture has respectfully captured the essence of the existing home, and after opening up the internal spaces, extended its bones into a cohesive and connected series of contemporary spaces.