Design TeamMelissa Bright, Bruce Rowe, Gillian Hatch, Shelley Freeman
Text description provided by the architects. Squeezed into a tight space in inner city Melbourne, the Little Brick Studio is the second stage in a larger house renovation project. Our initial brief was to design a house that gave this family enough space to grow. With two energetic teenage boys to accommodate, the project was an exercise in squeezing suburban amenity into an urban site. Creating a discrete space has given this family a way to live in the inner city together and separately.
The 'Little Brick Studio' attempts to engage at the urban scale of the busy street (and brick buildings opposite), but is also sensitive to the smaller residential scale of the houses behind. Comprising a single garage and storage with a studio space above, the footprint of the building is minimised to reduce the spatial impact on the house and backyard. The angled roof form comes from a desire to reduce perceived mass from inside and also control garden overshadowing.
Rather than create another rear garage door turning its back on the street, the Little Brick Studio attempts to provide a positive contribution to the neighbourhood, treating it as a valued street address. The garage door is recessed and forms part of the fence language that wraps the base. The brick studio above hangs out over the street with a large window. The timber entry door gives the building a sense of address, with the projection blurring the public/private interface.
The 'Little Brick Studio' pays homage to the suburbs industrial past. The beautiful brick detailing in the area inspired the design, we wanted to make our own contribution to the brick texture of the suburb. Bricks protrude out by 90mm and slowly disappear into the wall, corners are carefully considered and brick cutting was minimised where possible.
The studio space has been designed as a flexible space that can change with family needs and takes on the idea of 'loose fit' in terms of sustainability. The space can be recycled over time depending on the owner’s needs. The large north window allows excellent sun penetration in winter and the existing plane tree provides shade protection in summer. Materials used have been selected for their durability and the thermal properties they bring. Solar access to the house and to existing properties has been carefully considered and maintained.
The initial brief asked for the provision of a space for the clients' two teenage sons but the flexible nature of the space means that it can also work as a home office, granny flat or guest room. The separate rear entry and relationship to the street also mean that the space could work well as a separate commercial or residential rental.