Instilling Contemporary Charm – Princes Hill House by Atelier Wagner
Princes Hill, VIC, Australia
Expanding on a family connection to the home dating to 1889, Princes Hill House sees the expansion and restoration of a slight Victorian terrace to embrace contemporary sensibilities. Atelier Wagner carefully extracts and inserts elements to transform the restrictive outer shell into a functioning and light-filled family abode.
Set amongst a slew of accompanying Victorian-era terrace homes, Princes Hill House sits in the suburb of the same name Melbourne’s inner north and contributes as an important part of the area’s built history. Unlike many new renovations and extensions that seek to imprint an element of a new owner’s connection to a site, this project offers an extension to the client’s existing connection, spanning generations and dating to 1889. The current owners are the decedents of the original builder and wanted to both extend that narrative and ensure its preservation. The need to restore the existing and expand the home was inspired by the way in which the modern home is occupied. As a result, to the rear a larger, more connected series of volumes run deeper into the site, and upward, where Atelier Wagner has crafted a considered articulation of indoor and outdoor connected volumes.
This most recent iteration sees a faceted open and connected living pavilion inserted to the rear, which openly embraces its rear landscaped courtyard space.
Built by A Team Carpentry, Princes Hill House is the evolution of a previous established narrative, responding with respectful restraint. This most recent iteration sees a faceted open and connected living pavilion inserted to the rear, which openly embraces its rear landscaped courtyard space. The use of charcoal, concrete and steel ensures a precision and heightened refinement, offering a similar sense of longevity as the original home, which was cast in brick, referencing the handmade. Intercepting with the original built fabric sees zinc and porcelain panels express the built connection and transition in time. The encasing shell of the extension aims to create its own conversation with the existing, while clearly defining its presence and time of construction.
The originally two-bedroom home is deconstructed and transformed into a three-bedroom family home, evolving from the original house and its formality into a connected series of welcoming spaces. A contrasting and monochromatic palette sets the base for the home, as both a robust and longwearing foundation, while carvings into the proposed form allow generous portions of light to enter deep into the home. The rear is lowered 1.3m into the ground and allows for additional plantings to soften the rear outdoor space and optimise the site with its sloping terrain.
A contrasting and monochromatic palette sets the base for the home, as both a robust and longwearing foundation, while carvings into the proposed form allow generous portions of light to enter deep into the home.
Princes Hill House crisply redefines its presence on site through a considered and well-honed extension. Atelier Wagner has used a series of anchored gestures to imprint its projected durability and relevance, continuing its current inhabitants’ connection to the home.