Taking notes from the original Victorian residence’s past as a place of gathering and entertainment, Wyoming sees Inarc Architects combine a classical approach where refinement and restraint come together to propose enduring spaces that transcend any one era.
Located in Studley Park, one of Melbourne’s most understated enclaves, Wyoming sits amongst an eclectic mix of original Victorian, mid-century modernist and contemporary homes. The area has an interesting past, with its sloping hillsides initially the site of farmland and produce gardens early in the history of Melbourne. Later, due to the complex terrain, the area was adopted by experimental architects as a testing ground for ideas and the increased structural potential of materials that came with the Industrial Revolution.
With the original home built in the Victorian period, Wyoming represents the time before this era of architectural and structural experimentation. Preserving and reinstating the original elements as an important part of history were paramount, and Inarc Architects’ approach reinvigorates the original while proposing a contemporary extension that fits effortlessly as it extends down the slope of the site. The resulting home sees a considerable extension that is connected to the original by way of a glazed link. The additional three levels then follow the slope of the site, allowing them to sit hidden from the streetscape while ensuring the home is fully open to its site. The formality in planning was retained across the old and new, but there is a contemporary relevance that flows between both. The deliberately minimal approach to finishes and materiality allows the delicate heritage features to be celebrated, and the strong and sleek lines of the new elevate the sense of luxury throughout.
Opening to its north-facing garden, the extension houses the open-planned living, dining and kitchen area and is a reflection of the home’s past. Through the process of understanding the project’s context, documents were uncovered that showed Wyoming was the gathering place for many cultural and festive occasions in the area. It was imperative to inject this same spirit back into the home. The resulting landscape combines a formality and acts as an extension of the internal rooms, encouraging both large and intimate gatherings throughout. The retention of the existing plants and the newly introduced exotic species all speak to the Victorian landscaping approach.
From the high ceilings, to the detailed openings and refinement of tactile elements and textures that carry through from the original home, there is a restrained simplicity created in the new extension. While connecting to the original home’s identity, Wyoming echoes its own sense of timelessness that goes beyond any one era. Instead, Inarc Architects has ingrained a longevity built on quality and craft.