RESIDENTIAL CHURCH CONVERSIONContemporary Exterior, Melbourne
What Houzz contributors are saying:
4. Modern Miracle in Melbourne When an 1892 Anglican church outside Melbourne, Australia, came on the market, husband-and-wife architects Dominic and Marie Bagnato of Bagnato Architects jumped at the chance to save the weatherboarded structure from being turned into a commercial office space. With old churches like it becoming a rarity in the area — the smallish designs can’t support growing congregations, so churchgoers are consolidating into larger spaces — the couple decided that converting the building into an awe-inspiring modern home would help ensure its staying power. “We wanted to preserve the architecture and retain the look but bring it to a 21st-century house on the inside,” Marie says. With the home’s hundred-year-old wood trusses and ceiling and high-end decor, being inside it today is nearly a religious experience.
And that’s one of the cautions with our Houzz poll. The data skews to those living in the United States, and that apparently influences which camp people fall into. In the U.S. the view that Crisp takes is more popular. But in places like Australia, it’s quite the opposite. Building codes in Australia are set up to encourage dramatic modern architectural gestures to distinguish old and new structures. Take the example shown here: a historic church from 1892 that architect Dominic Bagnato added on to with a supermodern structure. “The view taken by Australian architects and, in fact, enforced by local government is that additions must not imitate but clearly stand out from the original structure,” Bagnato says. “The reason is that there is a belief that by creating modern additions, in time you can clearly see and possibly date the original structure and all subsequent additions, therefore reinforcing the original design and construction and honoring its roots. If you imitate the design and you can’t distinguish the original architecture, how will you know what part of the building was original? What parts were added on? How was the original building constructed? And what methods were used from today’s practices?”
1. Outside Melbourne. When husband-and-wife architects Dominic and Marie Bagnato heard that this decommissioned local Australian church was going to be turned into commercial office space, they snatched it up and converted it into a unique home instead, adding a contemporary master suite addition to the left of the historic structure.