A Considered Insertion – Lawler Residence by Andrew Donaldson Architecture & Design
Potts Point, NSW, Australia

Photography Tom Ferguson
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Joiner Husk&Co

Adopting a non-traditional route in revitalisation within a heritage context, Lawler Residence sees the insertion of a multifunctional and flexible spine to inject a dedicated purpose. Andrew Donaldson combines a response that acknowledges and respects the apartment’s past narrative with a carefully crafted resolve.

Amongst the inner urban humming bustle of Sydney’s Potts Point, Lawler Residence forms part of the important fabric of art deco era buildings than don the area. Originally designed by famed Australian architect of the time Emil Sodersten, the building encasing the residence has remained true to its styled origins, preserved over time. In relocating to the area as a means to age in place, the clients wanted a home that both embraced its past while capturing the spirit of their own use of space through design. The resolve sees a carefully crafted and skilled insertion that defines the main space, injecting much needed amenity, storage and display, acting as the multi-functional spine of the home. By deliberately keeping the new elements held back from the existing and highly detailed walls, cornices and mouldings, Andrew Donaldson ensures the original detailing is celebrated, while the new references more a temporary furniture piece than a permanent alteration of the space.

The insertion exists under many guises, becoming the centre of the home and a feature in itself.

Built by Husk and Co, Lawler Residence begins as a familiar story of downsizing and living deliberately. The clients wanted to immerse themselves within an easily accessible village of sorts, with everything they need trafficable by foot within close range. Ensuring the existing heritage features were retained, the intent was to create a womb-like space that embraced its occupants and was healing and regenerative. The resulting 8.2m-long insertion is made of American oak and allows uninterrupted views outward, connecting the inner experience of the home with the area they so lovingly chose to submerge themselves within.

The insertion exists under many guises, becoming the centre of the home and a feature in itself. Its positioning defines the living, dining and media spaces while also acting as an art gallery, in parts, offering hanging facilities as well as concealed storage and allowing for open display. The end intersection sees a semi-circle rounded end gestures at it being a gentle crossing and encouraging a flow of movement. Cleverly integrated, a series of moving features allows the structure to open and close as needed, with angled functionality to increase amenity.

Ensuring the existing heritage features were retained, the intent was to create a womb-like space that embraced its occupants and was healing and regenerative.

Through its highly thoughtful rigour, Lawler Residence keeps try to the existing crafted detailing of a heritage home while capturing and responding to the clients’ contemporary brief.

Lawler Residence By Andrew Donaldson Architecture & Design – Product Feature – The Local Project Image 24
Published 17 April, 2021
Photography  Tom Ferguson
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