Professor Leslie Wilkinson’s domestic architecture is a bottomless source of surprises, discoveries and idiosyncrasies; his houses are complex, full of unexpected twists and turns. The scale is human, comfortable and not rhetorical. The owners were extremely fond of their house, but had some trouble fitting their large family, activities, books and art collection into the original space. Luigi Rosselli was asked to find a sympathetic way of adding a considerable number of rooms and functions. A library, playroom, family room and poolhouse with swimming pool have been added together with a new garage, cellar and store. The additions have been generally constructed outside of the original house footprint, partially excavated in the steep rock face behind the house and partially underground behind the front garden retaining wall. The existing house has been restored to its original splendor; the shutters repaired, the walls replastered, the polished concrete floors refreshed. The kitchen, bathrooms and electrical systems brought up to today’s standards. A missing feature of the original Wilkinson design, the entry gate, was built with details procured from some of his other residential projects. The old garage was too narrow for two cars so it was transformed into a playroom for the younger children, and connected to the rest of the house by excavating another flight of stairs under the main stairwell. Wilkinson’s organic and fragmented house designs have attempted to reinterpret the richness of the layering of time in vernacular architecture. The new additions have attempted to adopt the same principle. The place should now feel more like a venerable ancient village than a suburban house.
Awards: Australian Institute of Architects National Award for Heritage 2009 Woollahra Conservation Award 2008 National Trust Energy Australia Commendation 2009 Australian Institute of Architects Residential Architecture Award 2009 Australian Institute of Architects NSW Heritage Architecture Award 2009
Location : Double Bay, Sydney, NSW Design Architect : Luigi Rosselli Project Architect : Candace Christensen Heritage Consultants : Tanner Architects & John Oultram Heritage & Design Builder : Sydcon Building Services Structural Consultant :O’Hearn Consultants Interiors : Interni – Louise Bell, Shane Grogan Joiner : Silkworth Landscaper : Andrew Pfeiffer Photography : Justin Alexander