Building with a tiny footprint on a tiny footprint requires lofty ideas. Owner-builder Ralph Alphonso aimed for the stars with his 5 x 4 metre, four storey mini-skyscraper in East Melbourne, made almost entirely from sustainable Australian timber, including a wide range of Ecoply® plywood manufactured by Carter Holt Harvey. In fact, ninety percent of the timber used in the project came from certified sources.

Comer & King was given the task of creating the interior colour scheme, sourcing a selection of interior finishes and fixtures, and specifying sustainably produced materials such as locally made Ecoply structural plywood. In an interesting twist, Formrite® – which is usually reserved for concrete formwork – was re-purposed as carcases for the interior fit-out. Ecoply was expressed throughout the interior spaces as multi-purpose built-in cabinetry and joinery. Ecoply plywood, a low cost material, adds warmth and depth to the compact space.

Environmental responsibility was the driver for all material choices at 5x4 Hayes Lane from the geothermal heating and cooling; the solar panels; the automation system that will measure the on-going energy use; right through to the materials used, including Ecoply plywood. The sum of which have helped make this mini-skyscraper not only incredibly well designed, but also more sustainable.