Retro rejuvenation

1972 Guilford Bell Residence celebrates original design in modern refit

by James Forryan 05 December 2008
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    SJB run us through the retro-renovation of this 1972Guilford Bell Residence:

    "Our first visit to the sight was a delightfully surprising experience; discovering Bell’s modern classic well- hidden behind a high wall and overgrown garden. The client had assumed total demolition of the house and it took our design team considerable time and effort to persuade them to accept our design solution to retain the significant and valuable elements of the existing house.

    "Bell’s signature motif of the arched colonnade in white washed masonry became the primary external expression of the home. New additions were designed as sculptural, dark louvered extrusions, set back above the white colonnade. The new eastern additions are cranked at the first floor to avoid town planning implications and to provide an extended bedroom wing, which cantilevers parallel to the southern site boundary creating a sheltered entry sequence.

    "Ground level planning focused on retention of Bell’s theatrical sequences (entry, passage, courtyard) whilst providing a contemporary open-plan living/dining and kitchen space. The original column spacing and proportions of internal spaces drove the design response for the new works, as we endeavoured to carry this precision and clarity through all the new architectural, interior and landscape design solutions to create an integrated total building experience.

    "The original house was superbly located by Bell to provide a generous northern exposure to all habitable rooms, with a series of framed views to the garden, bay and city providing a strong connection to the site locality and region. The passive solar design principals of the original dwelling were clever and effective with a strong mediterranean influence and sensibly located, well proportioned courtyards create a calm, protected space to enjoy the bayside views.

    "Saving the essence of the old house was our primary design driver and it’s modification to suit a new family home is a considerable environmental initiative. Given the significant program and footprint of the house, we endeavoured to integrate ESD solutions into the project to ultimately reduce energy needs, including:

    • Double glazed windows
    • Automated external solar shading to 2nd storey rooms
    • Solar boosted hot water system
    • Solar pool heating
    • Skylights
    • Stormwater retention tanks
    • Stack-effect venting to 2nd storey

    "The client made a considerable investment in the acquisition of this Bayside property. The total build cost of the project is still less than the land value, including landscaping and fitout. Materials and finishes used have been selected for their aesthetic integrity, high performance, energy efficiency and resilience to the coastal environment.

    "We have approached this project in a creative and respectful manner, with practical solutions to address the client’s brief, however maintaining a level of humility and care in executing these solutions that will not only preserve the grandieur and boldness of Bell’s 1972 proposition, but to do so in a contemporary manner suitable for an Australian family home."


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