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Ribbon House


Heritage Conservation Project - Residential

EME Design Pty Ltd
(03) 9523 1514
Robert Rolls, First Impression Projects
Scott Haskins

Ribbon House

The designer is to be commended for this bold solution to the problem of altering and adding to a house of considerable heritage significance. The existing Arts and Crafts house was designed by a leading proponent of that style and is rich in detail, with an unusual semi-circular portico dominating the front elevation. Typical Arts and Crafts details prevail throughout, including the slatted timber eaves lining, from which the entrant has taken a cue for this inspired design. A ribbon of natural timber ties the existing fabric and the addition together, ensuring that awkward junctions between old and new fabric are avoided. The ribbon element boldly outlines the two-storey component, emphasising the clever articulation of the forms. The old and new are thus effectively connected with minimal intrusion upon the significant fabric.

The interest created by the forms is carried through to the interior planning and detailing with sculptural timber elements assisting in defining spaces and providing visual interest. The transition from old to new has been ably addressed to ensure that important areas of the existing interior are retained in an integrated plan.

The approach taken by the designer is one that all too often finds little or no support from local authorities; the two storey addition, while leaving the existing roof form largely intact, is not completely concealed behind it, and is dramatically contemporary in form. Yet the addition in no way compromises the significant fabric and, in fact, will most likely ensure its survival by upgrading it to meet the demands of modern living. In this way, the design sets a positive precedent for heritage conservation projects.