by Neometro

Responding To Heritage | Hampden Road House by Archier.

Architecture - by Stephen Crafti
  • Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

9th December, 2020.

Battery Point in Hobart is one of Australia’s most pristine and intact heritage neighbourhoods. Walking the streets and visiting the cafes immediately takes one back to the mid-19th century. In this setting is a simple period cottage with a pitched steel roof, a front door, and two paned windows on either side.

Originally a milk depot, it’s heritage-listing not only comes from the building and its original use but also its unusually large site (just under 600 square metres). A narrow driveway on either side is a reminder of the days of the horse and cart, entering from one side and exiting from the other. However, for the owners, a couple of empty nesters, the idea of living in a quaint period cottage was not how they envisaged their retirement years.

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

So, they approached Melbourne-based practice Archier which both understood their requirements, as much as the need to preserve the heritage cottage. “We wanted the extension to be completely recessive from the street, but alsocreate a more reflective approach that tied in with the garden,” saysarchitect ChrisHaddad, who worked closely with Archier’s co-director Chris Gilbert. The duo also worked with heritage consultant Brad Williams of Praxis Environment and landscape practice Landart. The result is not only a highly considered and reflective home but one that recently received an architecture award from the Australian Institute of Architects (Tasmanian Chapter).

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

Archier lightly touched the original cottage, inserting a new bathroom, while still maintaining the authenticity of the structure (a skylight was added rather than a new window). And separating the present from the past, it inserted a new enclosed link to the contemporary pavilion, orientated to the north. “Our clients wanted a strong connection to the landscape. They were leaving behind an unimpeded view of the Derwent River, so this time the garden had to be more of a focus,”says Gilbert, whose brief included separate areas for the couple: he has his own office within the original cottage, while she has an enclosed piano room that’s not only framed by the internal courtyard garden, but also a distant view of Mt Wellington.

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

Pivotal to Archier’s design is the courtyard garden that can be enjoyed from the new contemporary wing. Framed in glass, with dark and moody finishes within the open plan living areas, there’s a constant reflection of the garden. Polished concrete floors, cement-rendered walls and a large dose of mild steel joinery in areas such as the kitchen add to the ethereal quality of the spaces. The galley-style kitchen, for example, includes mild steel joinery that ‘morphs’ into an elongated pantry and storage area, complete with built-in bench seats that allow the garden to be enjoyed even when the clothes washing is loaded.

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

Although the glazed addition, with a separate bedroom wing, on the property’s northern boundary, is extremely transparent (the courtyard garden can be seen as soon as the front door is opened.), there’s a sense of solidity with the chunky concrete columns in the main living area. Prised away from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, these structural columns add depth to the rear façade, frame windows and allow the sheer curtains to be concealed. “We were extremely mindful of the climate in Hobart, bringing in as much natural light as possible on what can be continuous cloud-covered days,”says Haddad.

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

 Although the Battery Point house is moody, there are moments of light, both naturally lit and with the use of materials. The entirely clad island bench in the kitchen, for example, provides a subtle highlight in the relatively dark palette of materials used. There’s also a sense of lightness in the expression of the brass ‘feet’ that support this bench.

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson

Hampden Road House by Archier | Adam Gibson What was once a milk depot is now a fine contemporary home, with a mood that captures not only the ownerspersonalities but also the often-somber outlook that makes Hobart so unique and envied. “You’re continually reminded of where you are,”says Gilbert, pointing out the reflections of the neighbouring heritage homes in the myriad of glass walls.

Images | Adam Gibson

Words | Stephen Crafti


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