Garden Wall House by Studio Bright

  • Garden Wall House by Studio Bright

    Studio Bright bring out the best of a narrow inner-city site with an innovative brick extension, respectful of its heritage confines. 

    Melbourne-based architecture firm Studio Bright (formerly MAKE Architecture) are completely attuned to the social and environmental fabric of their projects. So there was no better candidate to take on a narrow site of just 4.5 metres wide in inner-city Carlton, Melbourne – a ‘game of millimetres’. 

    Aptly named the Garden Wall House, Studio Bright designed two white brick walls to run at a constant height from the garden all the way through the interior of a heritage extension. Above a singular brick form balances;  a ‘hit and miss’ brick veil that lets sun shoot through every opening from top to bottom. Mirroring the silhouette of the single-fronted Victorian, Studio Bright have packed a punch in a small footprint, fulfilling the client’s desire for a dynamic, leafy and light-filled refuge. 

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    The owner’s request for light-filled spaciousness ruled all aspects of the new design. Studio Bright introduced skylights at every opportunity, enhanced by the all-white textural brickwork, stairs and joinery. The kitchen and living area open up onto the outdoor space, providing another predominant light source and optimal ventilation. This layout has also created a genuine sense of spaciousness, blurring the lines between the garden and interior. While it may be close in proximity to its neighbours, Studio Bright’s garden retreat feels secluded, enveloping the owner’s within. 

    The upper level of the extension gently nods to its masonry neighbours, albeit the adapted gable roofline. This is what Studio Bright see as their contribution to the ongoing contemporary evolution of the local brick architectural context. The hit-and-miss brickwork lets morning light dapple into the bedroom space while ensuring complete privacy from neighbours. 

    Studio Bright have worked hard to allow architectural elements to take on more than one use; their dynamic thinking freeing up internal amenity. They have even squeezed in a roof deck and garage at the rear that also doubles as a study and music room. 

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    Keeping the scheme pared-back was a priority, so the home relies on a consistent palette of durable, natural materials. American Oak timber veneer appears in the kitchen with a porcelain benchtop. Polished concrete was chosen as flooring for the new extension, while Studio Bright kept to American Oak timber flooring in the existing home. 

    It’s no wonder Studio Bright’s Garden Wall House has taken out several awards for its boundary-bending design. Meeting the client’s expectations and site limitations, the Garden Wall House is a blueprint for balancing heritage context with contemporary innovation. 

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