This Is No Ordinary Granny Flat!

Australia’s housing crisis is well documented, and is a complex challenge that requires political leadership and a legislative overhaul. In addition to government investment, and increased public housing, Harley Graham Architects are advocating for a review of how we are designing houses, to create a new Australian dream!

The Marvell Studio in Byron Bay is a case study in architecture serving the shifting needs of families. This designer ‘granny flat’ is both beautiful and aspirational. Harley Graham chats with us about imagining new forms for contemporary Australian living.

Miriam McGarry

The ‘granny flat’ by Harley Graham Architects. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

The new backyard addition offers privacy for the clients parents, as well as new living spaces for the whole family. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Kitchen detail in the Marvel Street studio. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Tallow wood and a floating concrete slab in the granny flat. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Striking kitchen tiles in the bathroom. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Mellow yellow vibes in the bathroom. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Bathed in natural light in the bedroom. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

In addition to the granny flat, the architects echoed the architectural form in a pool cabana space. Photo – Andy MacPherson.

Miriam McGarry
4th of March 2019

The brief to Harley Graham Architects was to create a ‘granny flat’ for the client’s parents, within the footprint of their existing property in Byron Bay.  Harley explains that the project extends the firm’s exploration of a ‘Garden Studio’ typology – they are interested in expanding the potential of a conventional quarter-acre block. The architects are passionate about finding new models to increase urban density, and this granny flat development perfectly aligned with their interests.

The granny flat extends into the garden of the existing Paul Uhlmann designed residence, and is both a private annex for the client’s parents, an outdoor shower, storage area and ‘operable pergola’ for the whole family. The mid-century inspired pavilion is designed for the subtropical climate, and offers privacy through a concealable door to ‘partition off a private realm as a bedroom and en suite’. Side note – have you ever seen more joyful bathroom tiles!?

The low and lean linear form of the outdoor flat is echoed in the small pool cabana space in the backyard. Both buildings are ‘wrapped in tallow wood on a floating concrete slab.’ Harley highlights that while the studio is essentially a ‘common granny flat’, the completed design incorporates the communal spaces of the pergola, an outdoor refuge and an entirely self-contained separate dwelling.

Harley and team are passionate about provoking new models of living, that reflect the diverse and changing make-up of contemporary Australia. He explains ‘the garden studio provides the opportunity to inspire and influence an increased public utilisation of the backyard studio typology’ – and in doing so, encourage sustainable and interwoven suburban communities of urban density and connection.

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