It doesn’t get more authentic – or perhaps more compact – than one of the single fronted, one-bedroom worker’s cottages in the heart of Fitzroy, Melbourne. Backing onto a bluestone church, this tiny terrace was in need of urgent and demanding reform. Challenged to conceal all change from the street, Whiting Architects answered the prayers of this cramped heritage abode – all within a contained budget and confined space.
It would only be natural to look upwards when you’re faced with a one-bedroom cottage, sandwiched between a nineteenth century church and a row of single-storey terraces. But the creation of a new second story addition was “virtually impossible” for Whiting Architects as no new was allowed to be seen from the street. Making “discretion key” in the limited available area, Whiting Architects responded with a design driven by light and captivating views.
Whiting Architects made what they deemed impossible structurally possible, creating a new building under a wing-like element, replicating an angel’s wing. The folded second-storey structure is said to appear as “protecting the building beneath” and a tribute to the firm’s ecclesiastical inspiration. Fundamentally, the angled exterior maintains privacy and light quality for the interior.
To honour the integrity of the original 79m2 site, there is no indication of the second level from the ground floor. As you open what looks like a kitchen cupboard, you enter the light-filled world of the new stairs and second floor that includes a master bedroom, robe, bathroom and second bedroom or study.
One of the most striking elements to the Moor Street home is the perforated panels. The panels dapple the interior with light, resembling “light through trees” changing with both the time of the day and the seasons. The staircase is particularly blessed with specked light through the operable glass glazing – described as a “mirage of reflection”. Views of the church’s iconic architectural features are framed by windows and skylights that intercept the dramatic angles of the building form. Indoor greenery laps up the opportunity for endless sunshine in many a corners of the home, referenced in the soft furnishing palette. For a home-grown touch, the interior features bespoke lighting by Pop+Scott, furniture by Kin and St Marc Linen – local maker’s pieces sitting alongside classic designer items.
Doubling the number of bedrooms has more than doubled the liveability of this fun-sized Fitzroy home. Bringing forth an inconspicuous, dynamic extension, Whiting Architects have excelled on a scaled site, low budget and high client expectations.
Combining local and global designer elements.