In moving from a remote farming community to Armidale, our clients swapped open country for a half-acre site with views north towards Mount Duval. The site was occupied by an 1890s house named Nurrangi, built in the local blue bricks that Armidale is famous for and the project brief was to extend this original dwelling to provide new living areas and a master suite. As part of this, we wanted to restore and enhance the existing house and grounds and reflect its design in the new elements.

Nurrangi was substantially retained, its original verandah reinstated, with a new family bathroom, laundry and boot-room nestling under the eaves, replacing some tacked-on lean-to’s. A tangential new wing bows to Nurrangi’s roofline, its concrete pillars and chimneys echoing the old house in a distinct material language. Basalt for the new walls is mined in nearby Walcha, ceilings are lined in Tasmanian oak, while doors and windows are framed in rosewood.

Within the new footprint we created a series of private court-gardens that give an intimate landscape experience to the powder room and ensuite, and an immediate landscape connection from the kitchen. They also separate the master bedroom from living areas and allow the new structure to touch the old house lightly.

The pavilion is also home to another deliberate threshold space that works on many levels. A long corridor runs the length of the extension, designed as a gallery space for the clients’ artworks. It is anchored off the rough Armidale bricks of the old farmhouse, and opens to different rooms and courtyards along the way, before terminating at a large north window framing sunset view of the valley beyond.