Dream Big: Think Small

When constructing alterations, additions, or brand new dwellings how does one quantify value for money? -Obviously more square metres for less money right? But what if it were more qualitative than that..

There have been a few great articles recently which we hope reflects a changing approach to architecture and housing in Australia.

See below excerpt from an article on ArchitectureAU:

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” A City of Fremantle councillor has put forward an amendment to the Western Australian planning scheme that could see more “tiny houses” built in the city…

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…The amendment proposes to allow for the subdivision of larger residential blocks to create smaller independently owned houses. It proposes a maximum size of 120 square metres for each dwelling (by way of comparison, this is well above the minimum of 90 square metres for a three-bedroom apartment under New South Wales’ new Apartment Design Guide). “

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We hope it will encourage adaptation and reuse of existing buildings, in contrast with the wasteful knock-down-re-build approach. See here for more information and the original article by Linda Cheng at ArchitectureAU.

CAN we challenge mainstream thought and encourage clients to invest in smaller, but better quality spaces?

Australian Design Review published an interesting article recently on the growing interest in Tiny Houses. Author Emily Taliangis describes the trend forming from a variety of reasons: environmental, financial and ease of construction.

” …In compensation for their limited size, tiny houses place great emphasis on design, often utilising dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture. Vertical space optimisation is a common strategy – think beds over the kitchen, and storage at the roof. Tiny houses have all the amenities of regular sized homes, though clever planning and design is essential…”

However she continues to write that:

” …While the tiny house movement is gaining momentum, it realistically has a ways to go before it will influence living models in the mainstream. A recent article by the ABC reports that newly built Australian houses are “bigger on average than anywhere else in the world at 245 square metres for new freestanding homes, and 215 square metres for new homes overall,” demonstrating an increase in housing sizes of roughly 10 percent in the last decade… “

Read the article here.

The following image is from an article titled “Huge houses an irresponsible drain on the environment” by Dr Robert Crawford on smh.com.au

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The following images come from Tiny House Blog.

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So here at CANstudio we have decided to explore the idea of tiny houses and small living. Feel free to flashback to a previous article: Zig Zag Cabin and continue to follow our small exploration over the following month.

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Zig Zag Cabin by Architect/Builder Drew Heath, photo taken by Brett Boardman

Small things CAN make a big difference 🙂

Living In Iconic Houses

Today I attended the second talk in a series prepared by Karen McCartney, guest curator of the Iconic Australian Houses Exhibition at Customs House, Sydney.

The discussion surrounded Living In Iconic Houses, where several panel guests reflected upon their time living in ‘Iconic Australian Homes’. Karen McCartney, currently living in Bruce Rickard’s Marshall House, Dr Bill Lyons, the commissioning client and current owner of Robin Boyd’s Lyons House, Sydney, and Neil Buhrich who grew up in numerous iconic homes designed and built by his late father, Hugh Buhrich.

Below: Marshall House, Bruce Rickard

Marshall House, architect Bruce Rickard. cropped. Photograph (c) Micheal Wee

For McCartney, it seemed as though the building had chosen her, as much as her choosing the house. Self-designated custodian to the house, she has meticulously preserved the dwelling. She has carefully considered the architectural design and complimented it with her own style and personality.

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See the kitchen below. McCartney reflected that when small spaces are well and efficiently designed, they can continue to meet one’s needs.

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Below: Lyons House, Robin Boydlyons 2

Dr Bill Lyons touched on the significance of the architect-client relationship. Something I feel quite passionate about is the importance not only of a good understanding between architect and client, but shared ideals, be they an aesthetic, or a design approach (eg sustainability). Lyons

Lyons also praised the design for withstanding his fluctuating life situations: the design enduring changing married, family and single life.lyons 4 Lyons continues to live in the house since he commissioned it in the late 60’s.lyons 5

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Below: Buhrich House, Sydney

buhrich 3Son of Hugh Buhrich, Neil was raised in a house that was under a constant state of construction for most of his time there. He later moved into this house, designed and built by his father for himself and his wife, (Neil’s mother).Buhrich_House_6

Neil Buhrich shared childhood anecdotes of climbing precarious winder stairs, no balustrade, above vast drops below. He showed great pride and affection for the beautiful house, similar to McCartney and the Marshall house, who saw herself as custodian of the dwelling.

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In audience discussion time, (led by Fenella Kernebone), proud owners and previous inhabitants of architect-designed homes reflected upon the happiness that their dwelling provided. It was so refreshing to hear non-architects discuss the nourishment that architecture can provide, from formative years as a child, to raising a family in such inspirational spaces.

Houses should not be oversized expressions of one’s wealth and stability. They should be warm, nourishing dwellings that contribute to the inhabitant’s general life.

Functional, efficient, relevant, beautiful and above all inspirational. Architecture in collaboration with its inhabitant.

Cycle Storage

It’s been great to see push bikes having a growing presence on the road in Sydney recently.

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As a rider myself, regularly tenanting tiny houses comes with the constant struggle: where to store your bike!

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If you live in a small house or apartment and regularly use your bike, you may have experienced this common problem.. so how do you store your wheels?

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There are some great, playful and innovative solutions on the internet so I thought I’d show a few.

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I love how the bike becomes another household object in this storage shelf by Post Fossil, the bike just seated amongst the books and shoes. Post Fossil are a great collective of designers whose holistic approach considers not just sustainable material use but the influence of social behaviour patterns too. Check out their website here.

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Bikes as beautiful, sculptural objects such as the following example by Cycle Love..

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These are mainly indoor solutions, I’d love to see more creative ideas for external, safe, weatherproof storage ideas.

CAN anyone suggest any?

Happy Riding

Renovate or Relocate

Buying, selling, moving. With its associated costs, it’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to renovating rather than relocating.

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Renovating is a great way to spend money directly on improving the way you live.

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Clever design often maximises storage and promotes efficient use space (often through multipurpose rooms and open planning).

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It’s a great, sustainable way to consider a building as something that can be altered and adjusted to suit your needs, rather than demolished and rebuilt.

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Just think of beautiful terrace houses that have gradually been adapted over their 100 year life yet continue to serve the inhabitants.

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The images in this blog come from Small Spaces Interior Design. The 65m2 garden apartment [completely renovated by SSID] was valued at $150k more than what the owners bought it for three years prior in 2010. This, following a $45k construction budget!

Check out the clever storage solutions and open plan living.

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For more information see http://smallspacesid.com/

Jigsaw Puzzle Living

Potts Point Apartment by Anthony Gill Architects
Team: Anthony Gill and Sarah Mcspadden
Location: Potts Point, Sydney, 2010

CAN Studio loves this renovation project by Anthony Gill Architects. For this little puzzle, the architects worked on their home apartment, cleverly renovating the space to improve the liveability of the apartment to suit the family needs.

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The apartment is only 38sqm but creative joinery design uses every cubic metre of space to transform a one bedroom apartment into a liveable family home for three!

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The insertion of a joinery wall maximises storage whilst its visual permeability provides the illusion of continued space rather than enclosure.

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A raised built-in single bed provides a sleeping space and bedroom for their daughter, underneath which a double bed slides out into the main living space.

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From the architects:

“The idea is about a rich and layered backdrop for living, something that we all interact with everyday. The materials used are inexpensive. The shelves and kitchen are constructed from form-ply (low grade pre-finished plywood used for concrete formwork) and the wardrobe/bed block is hoop pine plywood with a beeswax finish.”

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A simple, functional kitchen is nestled discreetly behind the storage wall. A limited palette of materials and finishes is a great way to minimise costs, while the consistency reduces visual clutter. The stainless steel + black + ply finishes have a beautiful contemporary warmth.

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Existing floor plan

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New Floor Plan

What do you think of this example of high density living in Sydney, Australia? Could you imagine sliding your bed away each morning? We CAN

Check out the architect’s website here:
http://www.gillarchitects.com.au/

Information, photos and drawings from Arch Daily
http://www.archdaily.com/203211/potts-point-apartment-anthony-gill-architects/

Photos by Peter Bennetts:
http://www.peterbennetts.com/about#sthash.suLYr6LI.dpbs