The 1872 Bendigo coach house that became a light-filled townhouse
This townhouse has a more unusual history than most.
It began life in 1872 as a coach house, and the well-constructed sandstone building had been subdivided from the rear of a mansion in the central Victorian gold rush town of Bendigo.
Having been so well made – even after 140-plus years – most of the stone was sound, although portions had been overpainted (in yellow!) and over-rendered. Sometime in the 1970s, the building had been converted into a dim one-bedroom residence.
By exploiting the basics and the gracefully arched carriage door and window openings, amplifying the light feed and keeping the new L-shaped addition to the side and rear of the coach house, BLR Provincial Construction was able to assist the Architect with the creation of a three-bedroom home that small but could be adapted to function venue.
The carport is a spill-out “multipurpose space”, and the intriguingly-articulated black steel and open tread structure of the new staircase also allows access to the two upstairs bedrooms.
Though overtly sculptural, the overhead shape made by the steel structure could be an abstract suggestion of a proscenium arch.
Respecting the inheritance of the stone, but bringing much-needed light into once-dark interiors that were made for horses and not people, over the new entry foyer is a very large, 1.6 by 2.8 metre skylight, and if you look up at that point you can see sandstone., and in the gable window where hay was hauled into the upstairs loft, a dim casement was clear-glazed to illuminate the theatre of the stairwell in northern light.
Photographer – Adam Gibson
Architect – Andrew Lee – Bijl Architecture
Construction/Renovation – BLR Provincial Construction.