Colonnade House by Splinter Society

Colonnade House is a modern single-family home located in Australia, designed by Splinter Society.

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Colonnade House emerged from a brief for a large family home that respected, but was distinctly different from their existing federation home. Where the heritage building was light-weight in nature, contained closed, disconnected rooms and was badly sited resulting in a cramped feel, the extension was to be modern, robust, made from concrete and well connected to its garden surrounds. Together, new and old were to feel peaceful and relaxing, and be a great entertainer for the art-loving family.

In creating a dialogue with the elegant heritage home, the addition is a modern adaptation of its distinct original characteristics. Where the old is adorned with decorative details, the new contains a restrained modern decorative grain of refined steel, timber, render and tile detailing. Where the traditional layout contained closed defined rooms, the extension uses architectural devices to create a desired free-flowing plan whilst maintaining its spatial and programmatic definition. Where the old contains intersecting gabled rooflines, the new mimics these with minimal geometric roof forms and lofty ceilings. Where the old contained decorative timber windows, newly created steel windows abstract their detail linking from old to new.

The existing building houses the private spaces, allowing for an intimacy and romantic old-world charm. A new entry bisects old and the new, allowing occupants to appreciate the black painted timberwork of the old home before entering a dramatic gallery style linking foyer. From here, the idea of the colonnade, the project’s namesake, begins.

In delivering a desired concrete home aesthetic on a budget, a dominant insitu concrete colonnade was created, running centrally through the new extension and connecting the old home to the garden. This functional device filters and screens light between living spaces and the northern pool and garden. Between the columns sits a collection of intimate, sunny, garden-connected window daybeds and pedestals to house sculptures. Supported by these columns floats a simple black gable formed roof.

With an artist owner, the control of light both natural and artificial, framing of views, and creating rich and textured but subtle surfaces were critical to complement the array of rotating art and sculpture that will adorn the home. A palette of hand brushed timbers, plasters, concrete, and ceramic tiles was chosen to provide this complimentary muted backdrop. Where necessary, dark mirrors, metal sheeting and decorative steelwork enhance and reflect these surfaces and frame the architecture.

This light-filled home balances new thermal mass, re-insulated old structure and double glazing throughout. The new addition successfully reorients to the north and provides a well-ventilated home that successfully connects occupants to a beautiful newly created meadow style landscape. Solar hot water, water tanks and PV all work to assist the well-executed homes passive principles to create a highly efficient home.

This modernisation of an elegant heritage family home means it is ready to embrace its next stage. It’s rich experiential quality, poetic heritage dialogue, inspiring natural lighting and refined material detailing will ensure it truly enriches the lives of its inhabitants.

Photography by Sharyn Cairns

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- by Matt Watts