Heighway Field Associates

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The St. Leonards Conservation Area is a highly distinctive piece of city, speculatively developed in the early 19th century on the basis of detached and linked villas unified by consistently stuccoed facades and surrounded by leafy gardens. The opportunity presented itself to make an urban family home unequivocally of the 21st century yet sharing the ‘DNA’ of its quintessential villa typology. The dignified principal elevation was composed to ensure an harmonious contribution to the street scene.

Carefully calibrated to match the stature and grace of the surrounding historic edifices, it acknowledges the inherent essential character of St. Leonards, striking a delicate balance between respecting its context and establishing its own individual identity authentic to its time. In accordance with local precedent, the external form is distinguished by a lower ‘stucco’ zone which engages with the ground and an upper slate one, in this instance a slate clad set-back ‘penthouse’ element, the butterfly roof profile of which contributes a dynamic contemporary silhouette to the skyline.

A raised verandah deck hovers lightly above the formal front garden, its canopy, framed by tapered fin walls, extended laterally to embrace the characteristically asymmetrically placed point of entry, a gesture of welcome celebrating arrival and initiating an overlapping of layers into the composition of the street elevation

On approach, a filigree of white steel grid canopy panels casts dappled shadows which animate the white limestone facing delineating the part of the building envelope captured by the verandah. A luminous interior is distributed across five levels between which movement is choreographed by a dramatic oak and steel staircase.