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.