Formerly home to a well-known, 19th-century financier named Samuel Lazarus, a heritage terrace house in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy was given a modern makeover by Andrew Simpson Architects and landscaping firm Renata Fairhall Garden Designs. Hatherlie, as the home is called, features a series of overlapping additions that blur the boundaries between architecture and landscaping.
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Sited on a double-width block at the bend of a street, the house has a facade of polychromatic brickwork, a smaller gabled roof that flanks the main terrace, and a front garden lined with pencil pines.
The owners, who are Italophiles with an affinity for the landscapes of Tuscany where they got married, were drawn to the property because of some of its features. Its hilltop location, central courtyard and pool, and pencil pines bordering the front garden reminded them of the Italian villas of the 15th century.
Taking the owners’ love for Italy into consideration, Simpson intervened with additions and expansions that loosely referenced Italian writer, humanist, and architect Leon Battista Alberti’s book Ten Books on Architecture: Of the Country House for a Gentleman; Its Various Parts, and the Proper Disposition of Each of These Parts. The treatise outlines the importance of integrating landscape into architecture.
In the place of the old stable, Simpson created an off-site parking area with a guesthouse above it that’s accessible via an external, spiral staircase.
"Like much of the circulation through Hatherlie, this is part of a series of circuitous, lyrical pathways which reveal the house episodically," says Simpson.
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Working closely with Renata Fairhall Garden Designs, he interwove the architecture and landscaping into the heritage framework with contemporary extensions for the living, kitchen, study, laundry, and dining areas.
"The new living room extension mirrors the roof profile of the gabled roof on the front of the house, and becomes a raised platform, analogous to a hill, offering extended views to the garden. Water returns to the house as a reflection pond that brackets the new kitchen extension," says Simpson.
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Builder: Overend Constructions
Structural Engineering: 4Site