The Sussex House – Templeton Architecture
Taking cues from its heritage and storied past, The Sussex House unites the existing detailing with newly crafted elements that celebrate a sense of harmony and encourage movement. Templeton Architecture combines an intuitively responsive approach with a heightened and refined resolve.
Nestled into the lushly landscaped inner south of Melbourne, The Sussex House contributes to the significant Victorian-era presence that comprises the urban fabric abounding the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra. On the outer edge of the CDB, the location affords its owners a close connection to an urban vibrancy, coined as “a foot on the ground”, while endowing them with a calming and relaxed place of escape. The two-storey terrace home connects to its neighbours with adjoining walls and retains the original façade, intricate detailing and formal planning internally. The new works see an extension to the rear and the reinstatement of a continuous internal finish to bring all of its comprising parts together with conviction.
Nestled into the lushly landscaped inner south of Melbourne, The Sussex House contributes to the significant Victorian-era presence that comprises the urban fabric abounding the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra.
With each new home, an unchartered opportunity presents itself. In describing Templeton Architecture’s process, Emma Templeton, founder and director, says, “when we start a new project, we like to ask ourselves how we want somebody to feel when they experience a place or space. The answer to this question influences each design decision from the material selections to the eventual form and volumes created. Considered details and careful material selection are guided by the historical context of the original dwelling and the client’s values and requirements.” Built by S.L. Constructions, The Sussex House expands into its rear garden by way of a curved façade, offering a softening formal transition between the built and the open.
Problematic in every terrace home is access to natural light, and the glazed rear façade is key to bringing light to the spaces within. Emma explains, “natural light is the most desirable light source due to its ability to connect you with your environment. Providing light is fundamental to the feeling space evokes and whether it is natural light or architectural lighting solutions, we are looking for a tender light that enhances the intended atmosphere of the space.” While the rear façade effectively transforms the existing terrace through the abundance of natural light it offers, taking cues from the original home, it is also the most delicate part of the project. “The soft curve of the façade is bound to the brick architecture using traditional solid masonry and fine window detailing,” Emma describes. “It is the expression of the house towards the garden and is designed to capture optimal natural light while providing privacy within the density of the inner city.”
On the outer edge of the CDB, the location affords its owners a close connection to an urban vibrancy, coined as “a foot on the ground”, while endowing them with a calming and relaxed place of escape.
Most notable throughout is a feeling of warmth and subtlety. The use of texture to add depth and variation injects a heightened luxury and refinement to the experience of living and moving through the resulting home. The materiality plays an integral part in bringing the old and new together with purpose, Emma says. “The spaces should feel warm, inviting, comforting, and connected while reflecting the nature and preferences of our clients. The right design can bring a sense of belonging and connection between people and places, and this is the challenge we set ourselves.” It is this connection to space, the way narratives are formed, and the creation of such opportunities for them to form, that defines successful architecture and design. Here, working within the existing Victorian details, polished plaster, muted neutral tones and natural stone are inserted in defining deliberate ways to create moments to engage
The two-storey terrace home connects to its neighbours with adjoining walls and retains the original façade, intricate detailing and formal planning internally.
Transitions are key to uniting the two eras and the herringbone paving element that elevates itself onto the new roof terrace epitomises this gesture. Throughout, flow between spaces is emphasised by finishes and the continuous natural movement across thresholds. Describing their guiding principles, Emma says, “the grand presentation of the façade, the gravity of the solid masonry construction, and the classical proportions of the existing rooms set a tone for the project that we respect as we work within and extend the original fabric of the building. We aim to remove unnecessary detail and provide a clear focus on the essential form to create a harmonious sequence of spaces.”
As a heightened celebration of the Victorian era and a sophisticated contemporary addition to an important heritage home, The Sussex House is brought into being by Templeton Architecture’s sensitive and measured approach.