Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

 

It’s a classic design decision – when old meets new architecture, there’s a distinct break in the style and design. The nature of the new materials and the distinctive tone of the new design not only highlights the modernity of the addition, but also lets the old building speak for itself. Branch Studio Architects employed a similar principle with the addition to a 1990’s existing dwelling using the opportunity to create a distinct separation from the main house.

“The strategy for dealing with the existing building was for the additions to be ‘semi-detached’ from the existing residence… this creates a separation from the main house, giving the pavilion it’s own identity amongst the landscape, while also providing the private spaces contained within ‘room to breathe’ and a sense of calm, intimacy away from the large open plan family home,” said the architects.

The property is surrounded by a number of established trees. Wanting to maintain a strong connection to the landscape, rather than felling the trees and establishing a clear site, they made a decision to incorporate the trees into the design.

“It was resolved early on that the trees on the site would not make way for the new building – and in fact the concept would explore the opposite – as a more meaningful connection with the landscape could be achieved with the building giving way to, and interacting with, the trees,” they noted.

 

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

Balnarring House by Branch Studio Architects in Victoria | Yellowtrace

 

It’s a simple but beautiful design; a rectilinear form, incorporating a new master suite, a bedroom, ensuite, robes and ancillary spaces. There’s a courtyard which projects into the rectangular design, enabling an old grey birch to remain, surrounded by wooden benches. It’s a perfect space not only to sit and ponder the world but it also provides a peaceful view from the interior.

The materials, much like the form itself, are simple. The interior is treated to timber and concrete walls, finely detailed, giving the modest materials a sense of finery. Charcoal rammed earth, timber, steel and glass are purposefully natural and raw, reflecting the natural landscape surrounds.

The space itself was purposefully though through in terms of atmosphere. Artificial lighting was avoided so that the materials in the house could be lit during the day expressing the tones and textures of the finishes. The architects were respectful of the changing seasons and external conditions and wanted the space to resonate with the fluctuating changes of the landscape as opposed to producing a hermetic interior, one that could so easily be devoid of a relationship of the environment it inhabited.

“A moody grey day outside will impart those connotations over the internal spaces, the rammed earth will feel darker and heavier, the timber will reflect a monochromatic grey light and the bathroom areas will feel cave-like with the stone floors and walls. Alternatively, a bright, sunny day will cast dappled light across the spaces through the tree canopies above, the warmer tones of the earth and timber will be uncovered and the rich textures of the raw materials will be highlighted by the vibrancy of the natural light,” said the architects.

The monochrome palate, the fine detailing, and the rich canopy of trees makes for a surprisingly decadent experience. It has the type of simplicity that is hard to make feel layered and elegant. But here, they have managed to achieve both.

 

Related Post: Writer’s House in Caulfield South by Branch Studio Architects.

 

 


[Images courtesy of . Photography by .]

 



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