Andrew Maynard has redesigned a family home in Fitzroy, Australia, of only 4.5m (14.8 feet) wide. The clients, a family of four have found themselves overgrowing their aging home. Relocating was never an option as the family was an important part of a thriving community.
The front facade of the Moor Street House was left in its original state, with the back of the house being replaced by a new contemporary and efficient living space. Constrained by the extremely narrow site, the architects had to come up with creative solutions to maximise the new space. The new construction consists of three small volumes rather than a single contemporary monolith, one on the ground floor and two cantilevered volumes on the second floor.
The architects made sure to preserve an original courtyard between the house and its neighbour, home to an impressive Japanese maple tree.
The family often found themselves conversing through this lightwell. We retained the maple, expanded the lightwell and surrounded it in glass, bringing the tree into the living spaces. Now the conversations between spaces and levels, through the maple, are better and easier than ever.
– Andrew Maynard
The kitchen, bathroom, dining and laundry were relocated and updated along with the addition of a master bedroom. The ground floor living and kitchen area are now located at the back of the house, extending into the courtyard. The design of the kitchen creates a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor.
The two separate volumes on the upper floor contain the master bedroom. This space is surrounded by the canopy of the maple to the south and the canopy of a large gum tree to the north, making the master bedroom feel much like a treehouse. Large windows bring in natural light and offer views towards the surrounding worker’s cottages and small terraces.