Text description provided by the architects. This narrow, one-bedroom terrace in the heart of Fitzroy, Melbourne sits on a compact 79m2 site. The original cottage was dark, cold and cramped with a raking ladder in the middle of the already small living space accessing its single, mezzanine bedroom. The brief was to create a functional two-bedroom home on a modest budget. Spatial constraints, light and views drove the design response.
With limited available area, space was a premium, and to be used wisely. From the ground floor there is no indication of second level, maintaining the integrity of this humble brick floored workers-cottage. Upon closer inspection, four steps can be seen rising past the kitchen window giving a layer of interest and a process of discovery. Opening what appears to be a kitchen cupboard allows access to the light-filled stairwell and second floor, comprising a master bedroom, walk-in-robe, bathroom and second bedroom/study. The stair is intended as an external element and acts as a device to filter light through the middle of the building. It is screened to the east by perforated panels that create dappled light that flows over the stairwell and interior; like light through trees, changing with the time of day and the seasons.
Views to the neighbouring church and its iconic features are framed throughout the dwelling by precisely positioned windows and skylights, creating a layered sense of connectivity. Framing specific focal points through the interior landscape, from both existing and new areas, informed the architectural design response. Operable glazing provides natural light and cross ventilation, while the angled volumes capture a beautiful, ever changing light quality.
Externally the folded east elevation replicates an angel’s wing protecting the building beneath, tribute to our ecclesiastical inspiration. It also worked to articulate the elevation, breaking down building bulk while maintaining privacy and light quality.