It’s not an easy job to complement a historic setting. In order to make something blend with the décor, one needs to observe the dynamics of the place. When a family from Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia contacted Nic Owen Architects, the studio immediately responded positively. Such a project was definitely thrilling. Now, let me tell you why. To renew an old terrace, extend the existing space and built a modern home, while respecting the restrictions imposed by the historic Victorian neighbourhood, is like taking something, from trivial to spectacular.
The brief was to create “a larger house with a bright and airy feel to cater for their growing family”. Moreover, the clients requested for a better dialogue between the interior and the exterior (in this particular case, their rear yard). They also wanted to enjoy the benefits of a spacious, lovely new home, characterised by warmth and luminosity. The team of architects managed to mix harmonically the two different styles, the old and the new, without creating a sharp contrast. “The site is in a tight planning area with strict heritage controls, street and side views were of a heightened historic consideration.” A more spacious living space, implied a 1st floor extension (accommodating a master bedroom and a private balcony that overlooks the neighbourhood street).
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A good building should make you want to look at it. Even if not always liked by passers-by, it should always make them feel something. Manchester Metropolitan’s University’s business school is a building that effortlessly fits this criteria. Indeed for many, the building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is their first taste of the architecture of Manchester as they travel along the arterial road, Mancunian Way. With its distinct ski-slope roof, and glittering mirrored appearance, it provides a flash of silver, and a dazzling break from the dull greys of the motorway, greeting motorists in a slightly space-age way as they enter the city
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light