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A Teeny Tiny Sydney Terrace Under 70m2!

Architecture

Director of Architect George Dean Williams describes this Newtown project as ‘one of the smallest sites you will come across,’ and he’s not exaggerating. At just 68 square metres, the entire block is smaller than many two-bedroom apartments, and carries the additional challenge of having 13 angled boundaries (as opposed to the typical four!)

Cleverly utilising every millimetre of available space, Architect George transformed the existing terrace on site into a two-bedroom, two-bedroom, two-storey home on a 35 square metre footprint. 

The project is a successful exploration of how to dwell in small and dense environments, while remaining connected to sunlight, greenery and the outdoors.

31st August, 2021

House in Newtown explores how a small footprint and floor area can create a high level of amenity, and how we can live more sustainably. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Despite the site being just 68 square metres, the design by Architect George still affords outdoor space. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The new timber first floor structure is exposed in the dining room ceiling below, and detailed in a way to provide shelves for books and household belongings. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Cleverly utilising every millimetre of available space, Architect George transformed the existing terrace on site into a two-bedroom, two-bedroom, two-storey home. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The kitchen occupies the space  under the stair to maximise the use of available space and reduce unnecessary circulation space. Laminex DesignEdge cabinetry in Oyster Grey. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The clients wanted an architecturally designed home that represented their own  personality on a tight budget. Laminex DesignEdge cabinetry in Oyster Grey. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The interiors were also developed in response to the home’s urban environment and the existing structure, resulting in a predominately white, calming palette. Laminex DesignEdge cabinetry in Oyster Grey. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The ground floor footprint is 35 square metres to allow for more outdoor space, with a single storey added above. Laminex DesignEdge cabinetry in Oyster Grey. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Original features such as the fireplace, windows and rendered brickwork were all retained. Artwork above fireplace by Zak Tilley. Laminex DesignEdge cabinetry in Oyster Grey.Photo – Clinton Weaver

The 3.6 metre wide site also has 13 different property boundaries which added to the project’s complexity. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Finely framed apertures of a rear community park add to the home’s sense of space. Artwork by Lucienne Rickard. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The removal of unwanted walls resulted in a dramatic improvement to the site. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Artwork by Lucienne Rickard. Photo – Clinton Weaver

A somewhat sculptural element sitting in the garden, the bathroom provides a curved shower with skylight above. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The outdoor courtyard as seen from the bedroom above. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The project is a successful exploration of how to dwell in small and dense environments, while remaining connected to sunlight, greenery and the outdoors. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The house is located on one of the small blocks in Newtown! Photo – Clinton Weaver

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 31st August 2021

‘It’s important for our buildings to be able to breathe and open up to their surroundings.’ – Dean Williams

The clients of this Newtown project were willing to sacrifice on space in order to achieve an architect-designed home representative of their personalities. 

At just 68 square metres, their chosen site indeed offered little room to spare. Not only was the block a mere 3.6 metres wide, the site had 13 angled boundaries as opposed to the typical four. Yet another challenge was the lack of visual connection between indoors and out, due to the living room’s position at the front of the home, with the bathroom at the back. 

‘There was a sun-drenched north facing rear courtyard with access to a community park, however, it was completely disconnected from the original house,’ says Dean Williams, director of Architect George

In reconfiguring and extending the original home on site, Architect George created a highly efficient two-bedroom, two-bathroom home. The resulting ground floor footprint is 35 square metres to allow for more outdoor space, with a single storey above. 

Embracing the larger outdoor courtyard and rear community park are carefully placed doors and windows. A small but accessible green roof off the main bedroom provides an additional outlook, in contrast to the surrounding harder built structures, for both the owners and passersby to appreciate.

Facilitating this enhanced connection to the community was another of Dean’s inspirations for the project.

‘I do feel in Australia that architecture suffers from being a little too private. In dense urban environments and on very small sites, it’s important for our buildings to be able to breathe and open up to their surroundings,’ he says.

‘With this project, I love the rear Juliet-style balcony and small green roof that provide these semi-private/public thresholds, I guess like you’d see in an active laneway of a dense part of Barcelona or Paris.’

The interiors were also developed in response to the home’s urban environment and the existing structure, resulting in a predominately white, calming palette.

‘The house is adjacent to a train line, underneath a flight path, and in the middle of a varied and active context. There is a lot going in a very dense and grungy inner-city environment,’ Dean explains. ‘Our design response for the new addition was deliberately singular in colour and  simple in form so as to not further overwhelm the varied surroundings. The lightweight addition sits quietly with restraint.’

As the debut project of Architect George, what’s been achieved is this project is most impressive, but Dean attributes its success to the owners. 

‘The house works so well because of the brief from the clients. Choosing high quality spaces over the quantity or size of spaces has afforded the clients with much more amenity and a greater love for their home,’ he says. 

The home is a stellar example of how a small footprint and floor area can still offer a high level of amenity, while supporting a more sustainable way of life.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net