Project Feature

Full Immersion of the Arts - St Vincent’s Place by B.E. Architecture

Albert Park, VIC, Australia

Bronwyn Marshall

Through a measured lens of sensitivity to materiality, context and appropriation, B.E. Architecture’s St Vincent’s Place is a contemporary return to the approach of the Renaissance period – architect, artist and artisan engaged in a patronage alongside one another, working toward a shared vision and common experience.

As a cross-pollination of artists and craftspeople, St Vincent’s Place is a considered and sensitive approach to materiality and time, seeing an Albert Park period home injected with a modern overhaul. Reminiscent of the Renaissance approach of bringing together disciplines in the arts and allowing them to work with and alongside each other, the project saw architect, artist, artisan and landscape architect all engaged in unison. Due to the generous project timeframe of three years, all disciplines were able to work at a pace that did not impose creative limitations.

All disciplines were able to work at a pace that did not impose creative limitations.

Acting as patron, the client saw their role as fully entrusting of creativity to the team, allowing parties to work both with one another and feed from one another to knowingly create based on a shared vision. This allowed B.E. Architecture to fully embrace what they do best – explore through materiality and space, and respectfully respond to the presence of time within a space. In this case, the existing period features remain iconic, and the newly introduced pieces add an additional layer, referencing the period past and lessons learned.

As a cross-pollination of artists and craftspeople, St Vincent’s Place is a considered and sensitive approach to materiality and time.

There is an abounding level of personality within these walls.

B.E. Architecture’s St Vincent’s Place is a contemporary return to the approach of the Renaissance period.

The existing period features remain iconic, and the newly introduced pieces add an additional layer.

Extending from the front of the property to the rear, each element was touched, assessed and remodeled in some way, all through a measured sensibility to materiality, context and appropriation. Sitting behind its significant heritage façade, the extension and remodeling, say B.E. Architecture, “is a cultural bridge between historical significance and modern progress”. Ultimately, the result is a mainly new-built home behind an existing façade, but due to careful decisions and respectful integration, the lines between old and new are blurred.

The work of a master craftsperson, and the obvious skill inherent, can be seen throughout.

“A cultural bridge between historical significance and modern progress”.

The Roman Empire-era communal bath, taking guise as the indoor swimming pool.

The sense of flow and movement throughout the home is effortless. The infused charm and personality of each detail, custom handmade rail, mirror or stone basin and tile, all reflect a true love for creating a unique experience within St Vincent’s. B.E. Architecture’s dedication to reworking the original details in the front of the house are obvious through their attention to detail. The work of a master craftsperson, and the obvious skill inherent, can be seen throughout. From hand-stained dovetail joints along skirtings, to hard-plaster rendering and textured walls, and handcrafted landscape design, there is an abounding level of personality within these walls.

The sense of flow and movement throughout the home is effortless.

There is an abounding level of personality within these walls.

The clever choice of textured finishes that weather and age, feel as though they were always meant to be there.

A highlight is the communal bath harking back to the era of the Roman Empire, taking guise as the indoor swimming pool. The clever choice of textured finishes that weather and age, feel as though they were always meant to be there. There is a sense of full submergence in time. From the artwork that was made specifically for St Vincent’s, responding to it, to the bespoke furniture, each piece is a comment on the ready-to-purchase contemporary consumerist culture to which we have become accustomed.

B.E. Architecture, together with a trusting and faithful client, have envisioned a home that speaks to a period and the time past, in every detail capturing a sense of unrivalled craftsmanship and skill. A true celebration of integrated processes and disciplines within the arts, St Vincent’s is a timeless example of a self-reflecting space, created through listening to the space and responding respectfully.

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