The project comprised renovations and minor additions to a historic two bedroom residential dwelling in Walmer, Port Elizabeth. Built in the 1930s – the house boasts a number of unique historical elements including pine floors, ornamented patio columns, decorated high ceilings and a symmetrical formal organisation.
From the onset, the clear design philosophy employed a contemporary approach to all interventions of establishing an obvious distinction between existing historical built form and new additions. Thus a strong contrast between ‘old’ and ‘new’, and a dialogue of mutual respect was created. Planning was rationalised internally by allocating generous en-suite bathrooms to each bedroom. The overall spatial character remained largely intact in that timber flooring and ornamented high ceilings were preserved and restored. Also carefully selected furniture further compliments each space in the house individually.
A spacious study room was added onto the southern side of the house, facing a lush garden and outside entertainment space. Large stacking doors allow for the entire southern edge to open out creating a delicate inside/outside relationship and a pleasant, relaxed environment. A generous outside shower leading off the bathrooms offers a unique experience to guests and hosts, as well as adding a contemporary element to the Eastern façade.
A contemporary steel carport structure along the Western side of the house creates a subtle contrast with the existing dwelling. At the same time, the carport structure takes conceptual reference from an elegant steel canopy in the garden space, resulting in a coherent formal architectural language. Completed in 2012, the project showcases various contemporary design solutions for historical dwellings with limited spatial opportunity, while at the same time creating a rich architectural character and presence.