Cool, calm and collected

Kerry Boettcher
Wednesday 22 Apr 2015

The Melbourne Hopetoun Road residence, designed by b.e Architecture aims to be a thoughtful and measured renovation and extension

The client specified a wish to retain the building’s existing conventional residential structure as an anchoring element, so the architects added to and enhanced what was already there. A series of steel-framed glass pavilions was installed underneath the floating copper roofline that wraps around the original building. 

The design strengthens the form by creating a gable façade at the front and back with a clearly defined outline. The polished grey render of the gables lends an air of solidity and permanence. 

In contrast, the extensions, ribbons of copper wrapping around the solid structure, sit above recessed glazing. Verticality and horizontality come into play between the façade, and the thin, single-level roofline. The copper banding also creates various spatial experiences as it interacts with the original house. 

The tension and balance between old and new are also carried through to the interiors of the house. The existing structure maintains the intimate qualities of the original house with a series of crafted details. In the entrance hall the smooth, curving staircase reflects the original period design, and a stunning agate door, like stained glass, lets coloured light stream through. 

The new areas, made primarily from glass, are open to the green landscape beyond. Prominent use of steel-framed windows is a unifying element throughout. 

Kerry Boettcher

News editor

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