The prevalence of Edwardian and Victorian architecture in Australian cities gives these built environments their own unique architectural identities to help create a sense of culture and history in a relatively newly industrialised country.
Some of the most iconic housing developments from architecturally acclaimed major cities like Melbourne and Sydney hail from these design eras.
However, while these buildings hold a uniquely antique beauty, especially when juxtaposed against minimalist modern surrounds, bringing them into a modern design era, without losing architectural integrity or remaining too dated remains a challenge for architects undertaking a heritage refurbishment.
When completed successfully, they can stand as some of the most widely recognised and critically acclaimed residential developments this country has to offer.
One particular development that has received both public and critical acclaim after being shortlisted for the Australian interior design awards’ 2012 Residential Design Award is Mim Design’s PLE Residence.
Challenged with the task of renovating the entire interior of an Edwardian home in the Melbournian suburb of Hawthorn, designers worked within the existing built form and extended through the back end of the buildings to deliver what stands as one of the most shining redevelopments in this sector.
Instead of opting to simply juxtapose a stark and cold interior with the heritage exterior, they have reinterpreted the Edwardian era, presenting updated elements in the Edwardian style. Examples of this include the large stone fireplace that serves as a focal point within the living space, lush carpet squares and a mix of classic furnishings in modern materials such as leather.
A neutral colour palette offers a clean and warm base that embraces the the abundant light let in though an almost completely glass living and kitchen space.
Finding this kind of balance requires talent and vision, but examples of this type of development are only increasing. These buildings offer Australia a sense of architectural culture, which is something that is not be ignored or overlooked in an attempt to cater to a modern lifestyle and deliver on modern developments.
Finding a proper balance is difficult, but when done well, the results speak for themselves.