Simon and Freda Thornton ARCHITECTS
Scheerlinck Shuo Li House Extension PARKVILLE
Designing an extension to a house in a heritage street in Parkville is hard enough, due to the vigilance of the Council's heritage advisor combined with the enthusiasm of neighbours. But imagine the difficulties if the extension can be seen from a public park at the rear of block! Every part of the building is then subject to intense scrutiny.
Imagine receiving extensive advice from a Council planning officer who then left, being replaced by another officer with somewhat different ideas. Then, when everything seems to be sorted, that one leaves and the process is taken over by someone else.
And imagine receiving a Town Planning Permit with a condition that states that that original slate roof tiles facing the park must be retained, making the top bedroom unbuildable.
Imagine then a VCAT hearing where the Council's heritage advisor puts forward the view that the owners really don't need the top room, and should learn to live more modestly, making do with one less bedroom.
If all this sounds hard then you will understand how Freda's skill and determination was valued by the owners, who now have a well-organised inner-city home with appropriately sized spaces, and great views to the park and old eucalypts to the north. And all this was achieved with architecture that is authentic, and avoids mimicry of a historical style, but is nonetheless compatible with the Victorian character of the area.