Albert Villa

  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Architectual Design

Designed By:

  • Bureau^proberts
  • Terry McQuillan

Commissioned By:

Terry + Charlie McQuillan

Designed In:


Brisbane’s Albert Villa is a heritage-listed worker’s cottage that has been reimagined with the addition of a contemporary pavilion. The project is home to bureau^proberts Director Terry McQuillan and his interior designer wife Charlie. The pair led an extensive design process that included town planning and heritage consultation.

view website

Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
Image: Alicia Taylor
  • MORE
  • Albert Villa was challenging for many reasons related to the nature of its historic inner-city context. The small site with three street frontages is steeply sloped, falling several meters overs its length. Added to this was a historically significant home that was protected and yet needed repair and restoration. The site was also overlooked by both commercial and residential structures. Narrow, sloping streets also limited access to the site. The challenge was to resolve these many complex issues through clever and considered contemporary forms and spaces.

  • Albert Villa overcomes many challenging aspects of its context to make a contemporary pavilion that is an extension of an existing heritage building. On a small site which is largely occupied by built footprint, a raised garden bed allows landscape to play an integral role in the architecture. New living spaces wrap this elevated garden heart which foregrounds long views never before realised. Contemporary planning allows interior spaces to engage with view, sunlight and breeze, while being private and secure.

  • The design honours both the history of the site and the community's future. The contemporary extension abstracts the hipped roof-form and material language of the historic cottage to inform a new architectural language. The familiar nature of these shapes and finishes helps to embed the buildings in the street and engender a sense of belonging to this historic neighbourhood. Albert Villa gives back to the city, not just through its preservation but through its contemporary adaption that ensures the building remains valued for future generations.

  • Although the refurbishment and extension of Albert Villa is primarily concerned with creating an appealing and highly functioning work of residential architecture, the project is considered a model for the preservation and adaption of the city’s historic architecture. Here, the contemporary pavilion - its form, scale and material expression - is designed so as to not overwhelm the original cottage. The main bedroom on the upper floor is contained within the roof space so as not to visually disrupt the tripartite arrangement of the neighbouring cottage (roof, cottage and understory). Sympathetic materials are used - metal roof and timber cladding - also as a nod to the original. And the characteristic monochrome colour palette clearly distinguishes new from old.