ST LUCIA, BRISBANE
Our client sought references to early modernist architecture in this refurbishment of a 1950s home in Brisbane's verdant western suburbs. The request gave the design team cues for how to respond to the dramatically sloping site. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Prairie Home were used as exemplars for referencing the era and negotiating between pure modernism and the kind of 'soft modernism' which provided an aesthetic connection back to the existing home.
Markedly different conditions at various site datums necessitated a variety of responses. Lower level terraces are carved from the site to create protective masonry edges to shield external areas from neighbouring properties. The primary living levels are more extroverted with expansive glazing and bold projections of cantilevering concrete balconies to enhance the connections between the various 'constructed' landscapes within the site. These landscapes have a multitude of characters and scales - cascading hanging gardens, abundant vertical walls of greenery, compact terraces activating often forgotten side yard nooks, steep stairways of floating timber and carved stone and the pool terrace; an elongated sliver of water surrounded by diving ledges, seating edges and expansive outdoor lounge areas. The architectural scope encompassed the entire site, suggesting a micro hill town or castle ramparts within the site's boundaries.
At the upper level the intact existing residence is partially concealed by a new balcony, the unique proportions of which are generated by various parameters; side blades to protect from the neighbours and harsh sun, roof and soffit angles to prise northern light in between the new and existing roof, a solid balustrade to mask the suburban roofs below and a long, horizontal aperture to frame sky and canopies. The result is a powerful, expressive facade and street presentation.