The modern ‘cookie-cutter’ appearance of many new project homes is changing the face of Australian towns and cities resulting in loss of the unique streetscapes and character of entire suburbs and neighbourhoods, according to Archicentre Australia.

“The approach of knocking down older homes and replacing them with larger ‘box-like’ structures that take up most of the block and dominate the streetscape, is common throughout Australia,” Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev says.

“In fact, it appears as though development and volume builder based organisations actively encourage ‘detonation’ rather than ‘renovation’ when it comes to existing buildings,” he says.

“In the majority of cases, the same lifestyle benefits offered by new-builds can be achieved by alteration and addition without removing neighbourhood character. Why seek to replicate features of the past when a tailored design can retain the best parts of a period building while accommodating modern amenity with a modern addition!”

Peter Georgiev says it is difficult to justify the detonation approach, particularly when assessed against the ‘cookie-cutter’ product that more often than not springs up.

“Older and traditionally built structures offer a degree of flexibility for alteration and addition largely due to the construction techniques embedded in their constructional make-up.

“Forming new openings, relocating walls and the like can usually be accommodated within the building shell with the assistance of simple structural design. Matters of energy efficiency can generally be retrofitted to the extent necessary.”

He says older buildings are generally resilient and respond well to adaptation, and an Archicentre Australia design architect can assist in tailoring this approach.

“Where existing buildings define siting regimes are no longer able to be accommodated by modern statutory siting rules, it is advantageous to maintain them on the basis of improved site planning efficiency.

“Unless a proposed new building can demonstrate improved siting, passive solar and longer term lifecycle features (such as generational use), it is hard to justify demolishing the existing building.

“Renovating means that the character along with the embedded siting and stylistic elements of retained sections of a building, which are the high value spaces, can be enjoyed into the future and, if necessary new spaces can be tailored to the existing building and site while taking into account solar access and passive house design.

“This approach allows two types of architectural expression to sit side by side, thus creating the best of both worlds.”

Peter Georgiev says architects are best placed to provide this advice and design exploration – utilising the time-honoured approach of a feasibility sketch, which outlines a site planning approach and possible building costs.

“Engaging the services of an architect is an investment in the future. Don’t get sucked in to volume builder spin. It’s better to struggle with an existing building and its apparent shortcomings than discovering that a new dream home has become a nightmare,” he adds.


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This media release has been written and distributed by:

Archicentre Australia

Peter Georgiev, Director

Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,

Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102

Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950