The brief was to convert an extremely tight, one bedroom apartment into a space that would accommodate a couple with a young child. The clients wanted a larger living space, efficient storage and separation between the sleeping areas. It had to be completed as inexpensively as possible without any structural work.
The site for this project was a 38sqm one-bedroom apartment in 'Gemini', a pair of 7 storey apartment buildings designed by Harry Seidler. The original building contained only studios and was built in the 1960's while the second building, built a few years later, contained only one-bedroom apartments. The buildings are connected by a footbridge at roof level.
The clients wanted a larger living space, efficient storage and separation between the sleeping areas. To achieve this the architects pulled out all the existing joinery leaving only the masonry walls to the bathroom, which remains untouched. A new block of joinery was inserted to accommodate all storage requirements.
The concept was that this joinery wall was to hold belongings, leaving the remaining space free for living. The wall increases and decreases in depth as it slides past the bathroom, allowing sufficient space for the storage of clothes, toys, books, kitchenware, groceries and even a bed, resolving the programme as efficiently as possible.
This wall of storage separated the children's bed platform from the main space. The main bed then slides out into the living space from under this platform and the solid wardrobe section of the wall. This section is held down from the ceiling, allowing open shelves to continue over, providing natural light. This decision helped to inform a change in materials, limiting the use of the black and providing a warmer, more tactile, surface for the sleeping zone.
The shelves to the kitchen are also open, ensuring a strong connection to the main space and enabling them to be used from both sides.
The joinery was built from formply and hoop pine plywood, chosen with aesthetics and budget in mind. Costs were minimised further by buying materials direct, preparing all the cutting lists and the architects building the majority of the joinery themselves.
The project provides an example of high density urban living for a small family in an urban environment with proximity to schools, parks, community gardens, cafes and cultural establishments; a sustainable example to a cross section of the population.
The design could be easily replicated throughout the rest of the building; the drawings are done, right down to the cutting lists, potentially doubling the density and responding to a cultural shift.
Furthermore, the fit-out is respectful of the original architecture and the structural space originally created has not been modified in any way. A new element has simply been inserted in to the old envelope to enable a different kind of living.
Australian Interior Design Awards, (National), Residential Design, winner, 2012
Australian Interior Design Awards, NSW), Residential Design, winner, 2012
Houses Awards, Apartment Unit or Townhouse, winner, 2011
IDEA Awards, Multi-Residential, high commendation, 2011
BIG RIVER GROUP, FORM PLY & HOOP PINE PLYWOOD
FORBO FLOORING, MARMOLEUM DUTCH DESIGN RANGE
EUROLUCE LIGHTING AUSTRALIA, CASSINA & PARENTISI, FLOS, NOGUCHI PENDANTS