‘TOONARBIN’ RESIDENCE ALTERATIONS & ADDITIONS
Highgate Hill, Queensland

NOMINATED: Governor’s Heritage Award – NATIONAL TRUST of QUEENSLAND HERITAGE AWARDS 2014

 

You provided the kind of professional assistance we needed: an enthusiastic, encouraging and efficient architect who listens.

ALLEN HUNTER & CARMEL DYER |

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The project involved the conversion and refurbishment of an abandoned convent building into a residence. Originally constructed in 1868 as a stately Victorian residence, ‘Toonarbin’ has endured significant modifications throughout its life. The most drastic being the addition of perimeter verandah and the current face brick façade in the 1920’s when it was converted to a convent. Having fallen into a state of disrepair following the closure of the convent in the 1990’s, MWA Architects were approached by its current owners to assist with restoring the building to embody its original character and form as a stately residence while concurrently updating services and facilities to reflect the demands of contemporary life.

Being a building of significant heritage value, our services involved close coordination with heritage architect and consent authorities to secure approvals for the necessary modifications. A key aspect of this was the design of vehicle access and parking strategies as this is one of the more significant items at odds with the pre-existing use and form of the building. The strategy involved careful modification of the existing front boundary wall (running the length of the parish complex established in the 1920’s and running beyond the extent of the current site) to incorporate a semi circular drive and reception court within the front setback drawing upon the likely carriage drive of the original residence. Car accommodation is located in a separate addition to the rear of the building with its roof top forming an entertaining terrace accessible from the lower living level.

Internally the reconfiguration strategy aims to restore the formal Victorian core of the building to its original grandeur while utilising the perimeter space enclosed by the 1920’s verandah addition for the provision of services, bathrooms, kitchen and informal living & sitting spaces. The detail and spatial philosophy centred on the consideration of the perimeter space as both a social and environmental moderator between the rigor of the core spaces and external environment. This has resulted in an edge to the building that tempers the core and is a delight to inhabit by virtue of its differences with, and its adjacency to the core.

CURRENT STATUS

Under Construction

 

CREDITS

Architect | Mark Williams Architects, JM Pearce Architects