Heritage Architecture in Homes and Offices

Keeping heritage and history alive is important. Even though our modern world continues its rapid move to all things digital, conserving originality is key as the past is where we usually go to shape future trends.

This is definitely true in architecture. There’s a certain joy that comes with renovating a seemingly forgotten building to bring it back to its former glory. With the help advancements in technology, we can preserve this historic architecture while still making it a modern living or working space.

The Grove houses in Woollahra are just one of Porebski Architects’ restoration projects that managed to do just that.

Picture a lush and tranquil secret garden hidden behind an unassuming white picket fence. Go further and forgive yourself for thinking that you’ve wandered into old English storybook wonderland.

The current homes in this picturesque subdivision were built around a tired-looking Victorian cottage, beautifully restored by Porebski Architects. The surrounding 1000 square metres of prime living area was the perfect space to integrate modern with history.

The cottage was restored and is linked into one of these new homes. Even though the overall effect of the home is modern, the design received some inspiration from the cottage seamlessly integrating the same blackbutt wooden floors and joinery. Even though it eventually became just a part of the home, formal living room, library and guest bedroom to be exact, it is still a key aspect of the structure.

Inspiration like this is evident in the other homes in the subdivision with exposed beams, though concrete and not wood, and limestone floors. In addition, one of the shared features of the subdivision is the cottage-inspired pavilion.

The beautiful private park, the gorgeous homes and the striking pavilion has made The Grove one of the best-kept secrets in Woollahra, and rightly so. It is a stunning example of heritage architecture done properly.

Blending contemporary design with a traditional building is not just for homes. Modern offices can also enjoy all the warmth and history heritage architecture has to offer.

A prime example of this is a textile warehouse that was converted into a modern and open-plan office building. Existing brickwork met concrete and steel to provide a contemporary and minimalist design. In maintaining the history of the building, the original timber is prominent thanks to the high and exposed ceilings.

Warehouses are a popular choice to be given a modern facelift for business premises. One such building in Ultimo was converted into a fresh new space for a call centre. Even though it offered clean lines and open areas, the integrity of the building could still be seen through existing brickwork. This sense of warmth was only highlighted by the new timber panelling and veneers that were added.

Not only does heritage architecture give you a glimpse into years gone by, it is also an extremely sustainable way of designing and subsequently building. Even though new materials may be added into the design, this type of architecture is essentially recycling facets of the existing building.

This is also why this approach is known as conservation architecture. Through careful planning and consideration, design experts can actually conserve and preserve the past, and the culture that goes along with it. This culture is kept alive through visible aspects, whether it be that original exposed beam or brickwork. The people who will live and work in these newly designed buildings will have visual reminders of those times.

It can sometimes be a bit tricky to combine the elements of the past with the modern needs and requirements of our world today. This is where skills, knowledge and experience come in on the part of the architect, who in turn would need to determine how far to push that envelope to maintain that precarious balance, while still providing a truly unique piece of architecture that has staying power. In most cases, this will require some research in determining what aspects of the original building will be integrated into the new building.

However, the amount of time and energy that put into finding that perfect balance will result in a beautiful structure with plenty of history behind it. It also means that this new structure is now part of that solidified history, which is quite a powerful concept.

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