The ‘Waimea’ residence is an alterations and additions project to an existing 1890s Victorian cottage, located within a heritage precinct. It integrates heritage conservation principles with contemporary architectural design, resulting in a sensitive, creative design that reinterprets the former workers cottage as a contemporary home for a professional family.
In keeping with the heritage character of the cottage and the immediate site context, RBA undertook a meticulous paint analysis of the original façade and elements to establish a traditional colour palette. The restoration of the modest Victorian era colour scheme at Waimea now stands in stark contrast to wildly inappropriate modern colour schemes to its contemporaneous neighbours. Extensive work was conducted to maintain the original façade, roof form and chimney and incorporated into the new design.
With a constrained site of 153m2, with neighbouring houses abutting the boundaries, it was an essential part of the design to provide natural lighting and garden aspects to every room in the house. The incorporation of large span commercial skylights over the dining room and the stair, provide stunning uninterrupted clear glazed views of the sky, to what would otherwise be dark, internalised rooms. An internal Japanese style courtyard garden with rocks, glossy moss and a Japanese maple tree, provides an everchanging display of dappled light against rocks and bluestone-hued brick wall. This contemplative garden space is visible from the ground floor and the first floor, providing a calm backdrop after a busy working day.
The residence is an intelligent, sustainable, and well-crafted response to the inherited 1890s Victorian cottage situated on a challenging site with historical significance. It celebrates its heritage by faithfully repairing and reviving its original character, with a seamless integration with contemporary living.
This project received a Conservation Commendation from the City of Port Phillip in 2018 and has subsequently been used as a successful example for the City of Port Phillip in their update of the council’s heritage management.