Architecture

Modest bungalow transformed into modern light-filled home

Empire Canberra has received several architecture awards, including the Canberra Medallion from the Australian Institute of Architects
Empire Canberra has received several architecture awards, including the Canberra Medallion from the Australian Institute of Architects
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Empire Canberra opens up to the garden in several places
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Empire Canberra opens up to the garden in several places
Empire Canberra was completed earlier this year
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Empire Canberra was completed earlier this year
Empire Canberra consists of the original bungalow, and two new extensions
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Empire Canberra consists of the original bungalow, and two new extensions
Empire Canberra's kitchen is spacious and light-filled
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Empire Canberra's kitchen is spacious and light-filled
Empire Canberra's two new extensions are connected to the original bungalow with glazed corridors
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Empire Canberra's two new extensions are connected to the original bungalow with glazed corridors
Empire Canberra's kitchen was relocated to a new extension at the rear of the plot
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Empire Canberra's kitchen was relocated to a new extension at the rear of the plot
Empire Canberra
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Photo of Empire Canberra's main bathroom
One of Empire Canberra's new extensions serves as a combined living room, dining room, and kitchen
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One of Empire Canberra's new extensions serves as a combined living room, dining room, and kitchen
Austin Maynard Architects carefully positioned Empire Canberra's windows to promote passive cooling
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Austin Maynard Architects carefully positioned Empire Canberra's windows to promote passive cooling
Including its new extensions, Empire Canberra has a total floorspace of 233 sq m (2,507 sq ft)
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Including its new extensions, Empire Canberra has a total floorspace of 233 sq m (2,507 sq ft)
Empire Canberra has four bedrooms
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Empire Canberra has four bedrooms
Empire Canberra includes a study
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Empire Canberra includes a small home office/study
Glazed corridors connect Empire Canberra's new extensions with the original house
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Glazed corridors connect Empire Canberra's new extensions with the original house
Empire Canberra opens onto the garden at several points
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Empire Canberra opens onto the garden at several points
Empire Canberra's car port has been turned into a sheltered outdoor area
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Empire Canberra's car port has been turned into a sheltered outdoor area
Empire Canberra's operable windows open onto the garden
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Empire Canberra's operable windows open onto the garden
Empire Canberra includes two bathrooms
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Empire Canberra includes two bathrooms
The design of Empire Canberra's new extensions complement the original house
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The design of Empire Canberra's new extensions complement the original house
Empire Canberra's original bungalow is connected to the new extensions with glazed corridors
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Empire Canberra's original bungalow is connected to the new extensions with glazed corridors
Exterior photo of Empire Canberra's kitchen extension
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Exterior photo of Empire Canberra's kitchen extension
Photo of Empire Canberra's bedroom extension
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Photo of Empire Canberra's bedroom extension
A new extension serves as Empire Canberra's master bedroom
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A new extension serves as Empire Canberra's master bedroom
Empire Canberra has received several architecture awards, including the Canberra Medallion from the Australian Institute of Architects
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Empire Canberra has received several architecture awards, including the Canberra Medallion from the Australian Institute of Architects
Empire Canberra's kitchen opens up to the outside
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Empire Canberra's kitchen opens up to the outside

Australia's Austin Maynard Architects has lots of experience giving old homes a new lease on life and its most recent project involves the renovation and extension of an aging bungalow in the country's capital. The firm increased living space and natural light, improved the home's energy-efficiency, and made it a more pleasant place to live overall.

Empire Canberra has a total floorspace of 233 sq m (2,507 sq ft) and consists of the original bungalow, plus two new extensions.

"It would have been easier, and a lot less fun, to demolish and start again," explains Austin Maynard Architects. "The aim was to retain as much of the existing character of the site as possible and avoid the common trend of knocking down or adding a dominant, unsympathetic addition. The two biggest issues were – how do we have a conversation with the original building without attacking it or infecting it? And how do we create sunny spaces when the sloping site levels and orientation of the house overshadows much of the garden? The answer was to go in with a scalpel, making some big moves, without damaging too much."

Empire Canberra's kitchen opens up to the outside
Empire Canberra's kitchen opens up to the outside

The bungalow was in decent shape overall, but its kitchen, laundry and bathroom were judged to be poorly positioned and in need of some work. So, the kitchen was relocated to an all-new extension at the rear of the house, while a separate master bedroom with en-suite was installed in another new extension to the side. Both extensions are connected to the main house by glazed corridors.

The new layout makes for a much more spacious and light-filled interior that opens up to the garden in several places. The home now includes a kitchen, two living rooms, four bedrooms, a study, and two bathrooms.

A new extension serves as Empire Canberra's master bedroom
A new extension serves as Empire Canberra's master bedroom

There was some time spent on upgrading Empire Canberra's energy-efficiency too. Austin Maynard Architects improved the home's insulation and its layout is designed to promote passive cooling through carefully-positioned operable windows. Additionally, solar panels were installed and a rainwater capture system is used to flush the toilet and water the garden.

Source: Austin Maynard Architects

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