Extending Relevance – Park Street by Penny Kinsella Architects
South Yarra, VIC, Australia

Photography Jack Lovel
Words Bronwyn Marshall

As a statement in preservation and retention of heritage, Park Street is an expression of time. Viewing the existing formality as an opportunity, Penny Kinsella Architects overlays an inherently sensitive approach, combining the existing with the new to extend the relevance of the home for its coming chapters.

In its heritage-rich South Yarra setting, the Victorian-era terrace home sits comfortably among its peers, with reminders of the area’s past lined up in their own rhythmic engagement with the street. Park Street is a familiar story of extending the legacy of an older home while infusing a contemporary awareness in the process. Creating a balance between the old and new was, therefore, key. The retention of as much of the original character as possible underpins the approach to the new works, which seek to go with the challenging elements instead of taking the easier route of demolition and starting afresh. The result ensures a capture of the home’s past, while the newer elements become considered and supplementary insertions, as Penny Kinsella Architects enhances the everyday and ensures the longevity of the home.

The retention of as much of the original character as possible underpins the approach to the new works, which seek to go with the challenging elements instead of taking the easier route of demolition and starting afresh.

As both a renovation and extension of the existing, Park Street balances a series of connections and sense of flow between the front and rear elements of the home. Ensuring a consistent materiality and shared sense of openness and proportion connects the zones of different eras, while a focus on hand-crafted and heightened detailing ensures the home feels as though it was conceived at the same time. Drawing from some of the original geometries and shapes within the home, arched openings and wall panelling take form as an extended evolution of the old, reinterpreted in the new.

Throughout, zones are created that respond to the functionality of each space, and the layering of materiality, approach to and incorporation of lighting all become an extension of the overall desired feel and mood. Linking each, a sense of calm and retreat is overlaid throughout, where muted base colours form the foundation of the home, allowing the original and ornate detailing to be heralded through each of the spaces. Colour and sculptural forms are incorporated through selected furniture and artwork, subtly animating the home and creating a sense of journey and discovery. While the front of the home retains its formality and definition of separation, the rear responds to a more contemporary and open way of living, acting as a pull for the home’s occupants to gather.

Drawing from some of the original geometries and shapes within the home, arched openings and wall panelling take form as an extension of the old, reinterpreted in the new.

Park Street approaches heritage in its own way, with retention as the most important element. Penny Kinsella acknowledges that the new should support the existing, rather than overtaking, allowing the current iteration of the home to tell the story of its origins.

Park Street By Penny Kinsella Architects Project Feature The Local Project Image 24
Published 7 December, 2021
Photography  Jack Lovel
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