A key part of any extension project is to create synergy, or a sense of connectedness, between the original building and new sections of development. Some of residential architecture’s greatest failings are the result of dodgy extension projects that lack cohesion.
While tradition states that extensions will ideally hide any suggestion of structural additions, this notion is being flouted, with Melbourne architects in particular juxtaposing and purposely contrasting different design styles and eras through extension projects.
This is increasingly notable in Victorian terrace redevelopments. Balance has always been essential when adding modern elements to Victorian and Edwardian-style homes, with many designers erring on the side of caution and subtlety in their delivery.
A rising number of designers are now throwing caution to the wind and adding extensions that intentionally conflict with the original building. Surprisingly, it often works.
Andrew Maynard Architects’ ‘Vader House’ extension serves as a prime example. Architects working on the extension designed the Victorian Terrace so that it would stand out against strong steel structural extension pieces.
“Unexpectedly a random Tetris piece has lodged itself deep within the walls of the original building,” says firm principal Andrew Maynard.
The same can be said for Roofscape House by architectural firm Antarctica, located in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton North. Developed as a third architectural genre shift, with the building encompassing a 1950s front façade and 1990s back extension, designing further structural extensions to match both design eras could have turned out kitschy given the already conflicting architectural modes.
Rather than following typical architectural conventions of ‘blending’, the designers made a deliberate decision to take the living space in a somewhat obtrusive upwards motion, extending the original building to include a rooftop living zone that protrudes from the centre of the original building. In defying convention, the development gets a new kind of flow and invigoration.
Herein lies the success of the growing number of seemingly contrasting extensions being added to buildings. While the juxtaposition of architectural forms can be hit and miss, the success of these two particular developments is in large part due to a focus on the overall form, atmosphere and layout of the development, rather than sticking to a particular architectural type.
Not only does this offer creative freedom to designers, but it brings the focus back onto creating a living space that has a bold aesthetic even as it flouts convention.