St Vincents Place Residence
A project that is neither a heritage restoration or a contemporary build, St Vincents Place Residence is a home that reveals a story of juxtaposition and timelessness that isn’t defined by an era. This reinterpretation has resulted in a sense of gravitas as the spaces unfold and the rich details reveal themselves.
Architects: B.E. Architecture
Photographer: Derek Swalwell
Broderick Ely, Jonathon Boucher And Andrew Piva of B.E Architecture
Led by directors Broderick Ely, Jonathon Boucher and Andrew Piva, B.E Architecture is a Melbourne-based firm renowned for producing quiet-yet-strong architectural projects that appropriately reference their surrounds. Their sympathetic approach to architecture has resulted in a sophisticated portfolio of buildings that are meaningful and continue to be relevant over time.
The Story Behind The Design
When B.E Architecture were invited to transform the Victorian property in Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Albert Park there was little of the original home left. Rich in historical significance, the building was purchased from the Catholic Church who had been using it as a convent.
Design Director Broderick Ely explains the architectural team were fortunate enough to be given free rein and time to explore the design options for the home and create a space that balances history with modern living.
The architectural programme consisted of a complete rebuild; from the front fence to the rear courtyard and all that remained was the 200mm thick Victorian heritage front façade. Despite the total gut, the architects have opted to fuse elements of the heritage style with a modern sensibility.
“Most clients buying a period home do so because they enjoy the detailing and materials used in these buildings”, says Broderick. “Renovations of period homes are a large part of our practice so we have an appreciation of how to work with these older structures and how to maximise their potential. To combine the aesthetics of an older style and contemporary is to get the best of both worlds.”
Take A Closer Look
The front section of the original building compromised of six rooms that referenced the classical attributes with its cornices, arched doorways and stained glass windows. It was within the extension a contemporary aesthetic was adopted, creating a clear visual separation from the two zones. Broderick explains this helped to avoid the modern section appearing “mock pastiche” and allowed for greater freedom in the details and materials palette selection.
Built of insitu-concrete, bluestone and Torino flooring, the extension embodies a bespoke nature. “The stone helps to imbue the building with a sense of time and permanence. The building feels like it has always been there.”
Vintage 'Circa' by Lumenform
Knoll Womb Chair
Maruni Hiroshima armchair
Custom Designed Granite Sink
Brodware Black Fittings
Custom Designed Light
Outside in the bluestone light well, the Nathan Colley Text installation ‘Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens’ is prominently displayed. “It is an installation piece that has been exhibited around the world, including once in the ACCA forecourt” explains Broderick. “It gives all of the levels a special feel and connection between them. It was the first major work purchased by the client.”
The stone elements in this project we developed with Eco Outdoor are strong and timeless, yet quiet at the same time.
For B.E Architecture there is always an emphasis on materiality in their work with a view to strive for a sense of timelessness. In this regard, St Vincent Place embodies many of the company’s ideals.
“The furniture pieces we designed throughout the house are very eclectic. The curved stone tiles, sinks and bath crafted all from the same stone are standalone elements in the house and very much represent what our firm’s design ethos is,” says Broderick. “The stone elements in this project we developed with Eco Outdoor are strong and timeless, yet quiet at the same time.”
Rather than a designing a building hinged on architectural gestures, B.E. Architecture have purposely curated a home that cultivates experiences. The interiors are filled with an range of bespoke objects designed expressively for the house, coupled with a mix of contemporary artworks and antique furniture. From the period detailing to the generous scale of the underground 20m granite lap pool, there is an artful balance between a classical aesthetic and a minimalist sensibility.
“The end result is very stimulating and meaningful to the end user,” says Broderick. “Ultimately the house is about the end user, something that is important to always keep in mind when working in designing houses for people.”
The stone helps to imbue the building with a sense of time and permanence. The building feels like it has always been there.
Experiencing every facet of this house is literally a journey, one that reveals a story of juxtaposition and timelessness as you move through each space. This project is neither a heritage restoration or a contemporary build. It’s a home that has been designed to complement and echo the history interwoven with a minimalist aesthetic that isn’t defined by an era.
Broderick describes St Vincents Place Residence as a new archetype and “a place of rebirth” that embraces the consideration of time and cultivates a space that elevates the homeowner’s quality of life.