The Foundation for New Design - Parnell Facade House by Preston Lane Architects
Elsternick, VIC, Australia
Tasked with transforming an existing 1980s extension to an original post-war bungalow into a contemporary home, Preston Lane utilised the existing bones of Parnell Façade House as the foundation for the new design.
Originally a period bungalow home, a 1980s addition saw a series of dark and disconnected zones disable the connection between the interior, its passive and active zones, and the backyard. Preston Lane’s brief was to dismantle this series of disconnected additions, utilise as much of the existing as possible on a tight budget and open the home to its outdoor living space. Together with Filippone Constructions, the core concept was centred on connection, light and a sense of openness.
Located in Melbourne’s Elsternwick, the home had undergone many additions since it was first built, all of which had to be worked within to carve out the new home. Preston Lane chose to retain core existing elements, and the approach was to intentionally differentiate the new from the original through both form and materiality. The resulting concrete façade wall is rendered to create a solidified statement within the suburban streetscape, while still having a connection to context through texture and silhouette.
Essentially an exercise in ‘opening-up’ the existing, both the northern and southern walls of the existing extension was retained, acting as anchors for the new works. This then provided a surface that could be rendered with a concrete finish both internally and externally to create a sense of texture and emphasise these existing core bones. These structures were further punctuated through a large steel-framed window seat for both ventilation and light and a feature breezeblock wall was located between the living and dining areas to create a filtered sense of separation. Through natural light, and a large sliding door opening to the rear garden, the home and its many zones could be connected.
Internally, a central joinery element, comprised of American oak creates a datum that bridges the old and the news. A palette of textured concrete, classic timber and exposed brickwork all come together to express honesty in materiality that speaks to the openness intended. Through orienting the house toward the backyard, and through opening up its previously convoluted planning, the integration of filtered transparency allows for less formal zones to be created without interrupting sightlines. Parnell Façade House sees the effective use of budget, footprint and available resources transform a wearied home into one ready to support the lives of its growing contemporary family.