Symmons Plains Homestead: austere Georgian heritage grappling with a renovation shaped by modern trends - RenovationOnWeb
Symmons Plains Homestead is about contrast and balance, tradition and modernity; just what a family home needs. It is an exciting journey towards building a host site of contemporary life within a building that is its antithesis
Cumulus Studio in its work on the Symmons Plains Homestead wanted to bring to light the richness of the stories of those who have lived there before. Settler John Arndell Youl built Symmons Plains in 1839 with a structure built using early Australian settlement techniques. Youl, who is famously known as the one who introduced brown trout to Australia with his family and lived at Symmons for seven generations until it was sold in 2011. When the building's original concrete was demolished, it revealed a history of its own with an eclectic mix of mattress springs and old fences used as reinforcements
To create an authentic environment, Cumulus Studio architects brought Heritage Tasmania and British stonemasons experienced in the renovation process into the work. They used old, traditional techniques to restore the lime mortar and the crumbling concrete sections and assisted with the extensive exterior work. To create a clean and decent canvas, later additions to the original structure such as the laundry room and loggia built in the 1960s were removed. The motto of the operation was "Restore, Reveal, Revive"
Cumulus Studio's design is a response to the distinctive characteristics of the original architecture to allow the heritage building to have a "feel at home" concept: as is typical of early Georgian houses, Symmons Plains is a bare, austere, utilitarian building. New lightweight steel and glass inserts balance the bold masonry and reflect this simplicity of form. The architects use steel in their work as a symbol to represent the transition from old to new: which is visible from the outside, the steel additions contrast with the masonry. As you move inside the residence, the symbolic interplay of contemporary material resumes in the steel used for the suspended stairs and balustrades, for subtle shelving and details.
With the purpose of providing the house with a new and important living and social space, the rear wing of the structure is connected to the annexes by transforming the forgotten service and storage rooms into a fluid and functional open space
The implementation of the restoration and renovation of the Symmons Plains Homestead required great flexibility and design improvisation from the architects on site due to structural challenges during the execution phase and variations in functional requirements, but the harmony created with the client made it possible to unite their intentions and expectations