Excerpt: Reverse Tree Change House is an architectural project designed by Mitsuori Architects in Australia. This project demonstrates that a small footprint is no barrier to creating a functional family home that is both unexpected and deceptively spacious. Approach to this compact renovation was to preserve the character of the original building as much as possible and make sure that any new additions became synomous with the original fabric.
[Text as submitted by architect] This renovation and extension to a narrow single fronted terrace house was the beginning of a family’s unconventional move from suburbia to inner city Fitzroy. Our clients sought to create an ‘edgy’ yet comfortable urban home for themselves and their two grown up children.
Our challenge was to transform a unusually narrow terrace house into a functioning family home. The heritage fabric of the building had been heavily but poorly modified leaving very little intact to restore. We took this as an opportunity to entirely redefine the spaces within this building. A light filled communal living room became the heart of the home. With a sculpted plywood ceiling above a two-storey void, this space is bathed in an abundance of natural light. Existing brickwork was retained and re-used for the new portions of the house, with reverse brick veneer providing a beautiful visual feature internally as well as a thermally efficient wall construction to the new living space. Recycled timber beams were incorporated into the structure of the building in response to the client’s love of timber and connection to the timber industry.
The homes private spaces are ‘tucked’ into other parts of the house and existing roof, making use of all available space and allowing us to strengthen the sense of separation and privacy. At the upper floor, two separate bedroom zones are connected via a split staircase and an open walkway provides a bridge to a rooftop balcony. The lower level utilises skylights to draw light deep into the house, creating a serene ambience to the master bathroom and providing a dramatic view of the sky from the bath.
This project demonstrates that a small footprint is no barrier to creating a functional family home that is both unexpected and deceptively spacious. Our approach to this compact renovation was to preserve the character of the original building as much as possible and make sure that any new additions became synomous with the original fabric. The use of rich and natural materials and finishes are coupled with architectural detailing that seemlessly combines old and new whilst reflecting the character and sensibilities of our clients.