“Home is arguably Brisbane’s most distinguished Queen Anne styled mansion and is a rare surviving example of a grand, intact Federation period residence’ in Brisbane. It is ‘an important landmark in the inner Brisbane town and river scape’. The ‘combination of the flamboyant architectural style and its prominent position’ high on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs overlooking the Brisbane River and the city, ‘make it an important architectural symbol of the turn of the century Brisbane.”
The AIA Citation for Nationally Significant 20th Century Architecture
Home is an iconic State Heritage Listed landmark House for Brisbane. This substantial, two-storeyed brick residence erected in 1902–03 for John Lamb, co-proprietor of the successful Queen Street drapery establishment of Edwards & Lamb. Named ‘Home’, (previously known as Lamb House) the house remained in the ownership of the Lamb family until 2021. Designed by eminent architect Alexander B. Wilson, the residence embraced the Federation Queen Anne style and is recognised as one of Wilson’s most important domestic works.
Home was left in a serious state of decay for many years. The roof failed and collapsed in many places leading to decay and damage to much of the house. The decayed state and visible fall from grace of this very public the house (supported by vast numbers of posts on social media) has captured the imagination of the public.
Conservation and restoration
The project includes a substantial restoration project of Home as well as the opportunity for a new wing and other new structures to enable the house to be reused as a home for the 21st century.
The current conservation and restoration work seek to recover the Home, return it to its former condition and enhance its significance through an ambitious programme of restoration. This restoration work is guided by the Home Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and uses the very best of Queensland specialist trade skills.
“As the new custodians of Home we are passionately committed to restoring the grand old dame back to its former grandeur using the very best of Queensland’s traditional trades and craftspeople. We hope the project will provide opportunities for training so these important skills can endure into the future.”
Steve and Jane Wilson, Owners of Home
The master plan seeks to enable changes to the existing house, new additions and landscape works to facilitate modern amenity and living on the site. The impacts of these changes will be managed and mitigated through the CMP Policy guidance. The proposed new additions and alterations are also guided by a set of heritage design principles which seek to respect the existing house, out buildings and setting.
A series of design principles have been developed to inform the design of the new wing;
The house in the round
The existing house is a play on scale with over scaled white gables set against vast steeply pitched terracotta tiled roofs, both elements designed to be seen from all directions. The old house is retained as the focal point as the “jewel” seen in the round. It is enhanced through the addition of new subservient elements for modern living.
The site at the top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs is highly visible from all around the Brisbane CBD, Southbank and Kangaroo Point. The design for the new wing responds to and integrates with the cliffs and develops its materiality and landscape setting, derived from the cliffs folds up and into the site.
The house in a landscape setting – the “green mist”
The new wing is designed as a landscape response to not compete with the existing house in scale or form. The landscape of the cliffs folds up and over the new wing as a “green mist” landscaped garden setting for the Old House. This is achieved through a series of integrated planters at the roofs and edges of the new wing.
The old house informs the design response of the new wing
The “green mist” element ties to the existing green valance of the existing house (that sits as a band between the upper and lower verandas) and the new wing responds to the datums of the existing Old House in plan, section and elevation. The new wing is subservient in scale and form. It does not replicate elements or introduce architectural elements or language that compete with the Old House.
Retain significant landscape elements
The existing mature (state and locally listed trees) provide structure to the garden and form part of its setting. These will be retained.
Retain and reuse the outbuildings
All of the original outbuildings form part of the story of the house (with a clear and distinct hierarchy of elements and spaces). The outbuildings are all to be retained and reuse. The former laundry, WC and fuel store are to be absorbed into the new wing as a piece of archaeology.
The new wing is conceived as a contemporary outbuilding
The design of the original house included attached outbuildings to house the service elements. The design for the new wing picks up cues from original outbuildings as a series of smaller structures – the new wing is broken down into legible smaller elements making up the new building.
Materiality informed by the site
The materiality of the new wing is derived from the site – the Tuff (Porphyry) stone with its rich greens, reds, buff, gold and cream informs the new palette.
Conrad Gargett is proud to be undertaking the conservation and restoration of Home in association with JDA and CUSP Landscape Architects.