The best thing about the Pop-Up House by Figr is not its abundance of custom window seats or its clean, origami-like facade (though these are pretty incredible) – it’s the carefully landscaped moments built into the design, that create constant connection with nature throughout the house.
This wouldn’t be so remarkable if the block were an average site, but the property sits at 215m2 in size, well below the average for family homes in Melbourne’s Essendon.
‘We wanted to minimise the building footprint to allow for generous landscape zones and site permeability,’ explains Figr director, Adi Atic, of the competing demands of an ambitious brief with a modest budget. ‘We overcame this by creating spaces that are flexible and malleable in their use.’
This meant devising a floorplan punctuated by discrete outdoor areas. Each of these spaces (expertly landscaped by Mud Office) are tucked into corners or woven into the home’s architectural fabric. Whether it’s window seats that open out onto garden beds or a netted play area overhanging the entry, the clever interplay between outdoors and in allows this small home to feel complex and dynamic.
Upon entry to the property, visitors are guided through an open-air carport to the threshold of the house. A network of plants interrupt the winding brickwork to the front door, which is characterised by dappled light from the overhanging net cover. The plantings in this secluded front courtyard serve a double purpose, as the scenic outlook it creates also conceals the main living areas from street view.
Once through the entry, the open plan kitchen, living and dining area unfolds itself. The interiors are clad with blonde ply, which enhances the natural light flooding in from the front and rear windows and staircase void, while forest green cabinetry continues to balance the colour palette between built and natural forms once inside the belly of the home.
Sliding doors connect the living room to an outdoor area laid with exposed brick and its long accompanying lawn.
Upstairs, the main bedroom sits above the car-port and is concealed from the street by operable louvres to adjust light, views and privacy. Moving through towards the rear garden lies a second living room that opens to a narrow outdoor terrace. (Due to its position on the boundary line, the patio looks down to the street via a skinny landscaped slope dotted with tulips!) This secreted space is connected to the netted area above the ground-floor threshold, while two other bedrooms lie at the rear of the level and overlook the backyard.
Despite its size, the clever interventions of greenery and light make this small home feel spacious and perfectly zoned.
The Pop-Up House has an impressive 6-star NatHers rating. See more projects from FIGR. here.