“The very familiar task of renovating and extending an aging, nineteenth-century Victorian terrace in inner-Melbourne quickly developed itself into a larger and more concerning conversation about how our constantly changing society lives and responds to the aging and preservation of architecture of the past”, says, fmd architects. Their response was inspired and directed by the client’s determined assertion that she was merely the current caretaker of this ‘old lady’; of this building that had preceded and would surely succeed her into the future. Beauty, aging, utility, and continuity were explored through the analogy of the existing house as an ‘old lady’ with a bustle dress.
With the Victorian ‘Lady’ in mind, fmd architects developed architectural drawings for the Bustle House as though they were Victorian portraits of women taken in profile – drawings historically used to illustrate the pronounced fashions of women’s bustle dresses.
Containing a kitchen, dining room, bathroom and laundry, the modest addition was positioned to the rear of the existing house and centrally to the site and accompanying garden. This importantly also meant that the extension could build and blur the relationship between the house and backyard and the adjacent street and community, an important idea in response to the traditional private backyard. The language of the bustle is referenced in the curved walls and windows of the extension and the ribbon of timber that oscillates along the side boundary of the house. The language is of the bustling train with the timber balustrade its lacework and the trees that grow throughout its embroidery.
Photos Peter Bennettts