House on a Hill

Biscoe Wilson Architects were commissioned to undertake a major refurbishment and additions to a handsome Federation house in an inner suburb of Brisbane. We more than doubled the 450sqm original footprint by constructing a new storey below the existing house as well as a three level addition on the western end. An elegant three storey stair that connects the ground to the main living level and wonderful timber paneled study on the upper level that affords almost 360 degree views of Brisbane. The house connects to extensive gardens incorporating a resort style pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, an outdoor room, and sandstone paved forecourts.

Conservation of the existing house was integral to the project. Research of photographs, similar houses and consultation with expert consultants and tradespeople enabled restoration of interiors and maintenance of existing features. Rotted gable support beams were restored and reinstated in a simplified form, pressed metal ceilings completely restored and repainted, pulley systems on double hung windows restored, and damaged internal and external cladding rectified.

The approach to new works was to create additions with a similar sense of grandeur and quality as the existing house without replicating every detail. Authentic materials and details have been used in conjunction with more modern materials and details. Subtle cues to new work have been left to enable future generations to appreciate the break between the original and new spaces. Rheinzink roofing and cladding has been used in the new three storey linking space. Similarly stair balustrades incorporate motifs borrowed from the leadlight in the original windows, but are obviously not original.


Project Team | Robert Biscoe, Marion Wilson, Ray Franke, Nadia Watson

Structural Engineer | Farr Engineers

Builder | Col Palmer Constructions

Landscape Architect | Butler and Webb

Lighting Design | LAD

Photographer | Aperture Architectural Photography

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