Brighton House by FIGR

  • Brighton House by FIGR

    A ‘seasoned building site’, this period home in bayside Melbourne receives its second makeover from local architectural studio FIGR.

    Brighton House has been with the same family since the 70s so naturally, it has seen more than one transformation in its time. For twenty-so years, it was just right, serving the family and their needs perfectly. However, the 90s quickly rolled around, and the owners enlisted architect John Cuthbert for an extension on their beloved home. Fast forward another 30 years, and a second re-build was in order; cue Melbourne-based architects FIGR. The new iteration of Brighton House is an accurate reflection of where the family are today, with the parents now retired, the children all grown up, and grandchildren coming to visit.

    FIGR’s rendition of Brighton House comprises a sympathetic set of architectural interventions to preserve as much of the existing home and landscape as possible. Therefore, an all-new design was laid aside in favour of a design that married the new with the old. The extension does away with small, closed-off spaces and opts for a more open, inclusive plan. The zonal arrangement was essential to achieving this ‘user-friendly’ layout.

    A minimal approach to materiality and form offsets the scope of the additions. Australian-sourced hardwood clads the exterior, while timber-screen panels are finished in fresh white paint. The interiors follow suit, with a palette of soft greys, waxed wood (carried from the exterior) and deep browns, evoking a laid-back, natural feel.

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    “Key to realising this project was this notion of unification between the existing structure and the proposed design,” FIGR co-founder Michael Artemenko says; in other words, “the unification between period and contemporary.” Forming an integral part of this approach was the restoration of existing fireplaces, architraves, skirtings and picture rails; present-day markers of the home’s resilience to change.

    “The undeniable character of old buildings like Brighton House provide an indelible foundation on which architecture can avoid whimsy and needless extravagance,” Michael says. In this way, the home now recognises signs of the past and uses them to inform the future. 

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    An ongoing connection to the outdoors has been achieved throughout the home.

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