This renovated and extended Victorian reconciles a desire to preserve and celebrate heritage homes with the aspiration for strong contemporary design. The design acknowledges the multiple contexts of the site: its Victorian heritage, its coastal location and its position on one of Melbourne’s most prominent and iconic promenades.
The principal facade and roof of the existing house have been maintained and restored, while behind them a new sculptural addition unfolds. The relationship between the existing house and the new built work has been inspired by three artworks that each express the horizon: Jorn Utzon’s sketch of storm clouds over the sea, and On the Beach and Seated Bather by Pablo Picasso. These artworks depict figures in front of the horizon and also evoke a sense of looking over a sea wall towards the horizon. From within the addition, the owners have the impression that they are looking over the existing roofscape to the sea and horizon beyond, while passers-by view the house from the beach as an architectural composition of billowing, cloud-like forms above a horizon populated by the rounded and sometimes biomorphic forms of the rooftop chimneys.
On the rear facade, asymmetrical openings reflect the irregularity found on the rear facades of adjacent Victorian houses. Inside, the visual connection to the bay is reinforced by the placement of the pool. Living spaces are located adjacent to the pool terrace and embrace the view, yet also respond to the challenges of preserving privacy and providing wind and noise protection in an exposed coastal location.