When the design was being resolved there was already a shift in conversation about what an office needed to provide to inspire and represent, and was completed during the dramatic events of 2020 which fundamentally changed the landscape of office design. We were already interested in taking lessons from the crossover village context on inner-city terrace conversions and th lessons we could learn for flexible zoning and domestic intimacy. It seemed fitting to look to domestic typologies and forms for this office extension. We wanted to explore the Victorian terrace typology typical of inner-city village precincts. The design takes ‘home office” tropes and subtly reinvents them, layering fundamentals of zoning, light, colour, artwork, materiality and technology.
The resulting gable forms with the playful full-height windows embed beautifully in context, and diagrams demonstrate the distribution of form on site for the normative option of extending the multipurpose studio within the main office – which leaves only a tiny courtyard and little natural light, vs multipurpose studio to top of the carport/garage.
The project is located within a sensitive heritage context. The streetscape to the front is made up of substantially intact Victorian heritage buildings. The building was built as one of three grand terrace houses set back from the street with gardens and cast iron fencing fronting Bridport St. The front garden was renewed as a borrowed landscape amenity for the public realm. The project backs onto Bevan St to the rear with a 2 storey garage and studio, continuing a distinctive urban pattern in Bevan St. Textured brick walling and a pitched roof profile provide a sensitive response to the context and existing building. Windows and projecting hoods complement the brickwork mass and provide contemporary character.
The project had an ambitious scope for a limited budget, and it was challenging to develop a project that simultaneously met the requirements for commercial and residential use. Managing the build costs meant working closely with the contractor and utilising their preferred suppliers wherever possible controlled costs. Careful consultation with the building surveyor regarding the requirements of commercial and residential uses allows a future change of use without the need for additional building works.