photography: David Patston
ELGIN HOUSE year: 2014 - 2016 stage: completion
Elgin House is a medical centre consisting of specialist consulting suites retrofitted into a Victorian-era building occupying a key corner site in central Carlton. Though not obvious from its street presence, the building originally consisted of two shops with upstairs dwellings and a corner pub. Over time, these separate tenancies had been amalgamated and significant penetrations made into the dividing walls, as well as the in-filling of a light-well between the two shops. This process of expediency resulted in a warren of rooms with no clear organisation and little registration of the original spatial structure. Our approach has been to restore and express the original spatial structure where possible whilst also inscribing a clear and legible functional organisation driven by two key thematic binaries: heritage / contemporary; and, addition / subtraction. Contemporary insertions and interventions into the heritage fabric have been clearly expressed and articulated through a bold materials and colour palette. The original light-well has been re-instated as a courtyard that serves to provide natural daylight into the centre of the building floorplate. It has been painted to contrast with the heritage colour scheme of the rest of the perimeter facades. The insertion of a new lift shaft and stair that connects the two levels is also clearly identifiable as an addition within the centre of the building. Within the main public circulation spaces, dark coloured reveal plates express the large openings that have been cut through the original party wall.
The building has been designed to operate with maximum leasing and operational flexibility. Each floor has its own waiting, reception and administration facilities servicing three consulting rooms and a treatment room. As a result, there is in-built flexibility for leasing to individual medical specialists, or to specialist groups occupying either an entire floor or the entire building.