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    Garage House introduces a communal and sustainable way of living

    Carlton North VIC 3054

    From the architect:

    This house was designed to be shared. With home-ownership in the inner city becoming increasingly out of reach; shared living arrangements will become increasingly common. This project seeks to embrace this and create a living situation that takes the best elements of communal living into a more grown-up space.

    The strategy was to provide flexibility and options; underpinned by sustainable principles. The site now has two standalone buildings that face each other across a shared garden. A low bluestone wall positioned centrally provides a natural location for high landscaping should a need for more autonomous living arise. This allows inhabitants to control what they share and their level of privacy. Something that can evolve with their changing needs.


    The overall strategy creates sustainable outcomes. Designing a standalone building at the rear of the site removed the need to demolish the good building while providing higher density with communal space that reduces inhabitants’ individual footprints. Given the flexibility provided and by retaining the original home, the design has provided a solution that could last the clients’ lifetime. The main fabric of the building is economical with small details designed to elevate the overall effect. We used recycled bricks, recycled iron-bark posts and enduring materials throughout. A 6.5-star energy rating was achieved with screens, blinds, internal zoning and an insulated garage door, that provides excellent cross ventilation when open just a few centimetres.


    The spirit of flexibility extends to the interior with adaptable spaces that still feel tailored and assured. The robust downstairs can function as a garage, studio or living space. In its current guise as the site’s primary living space, the garage door is the only clue to its alternative use. The room is robust and simple, with concrete and no fixed joinery, the quality of the space has been elevated with a cut and polish floor, generous glazing, timber light fittings and excellent thermal performance. Upstairs can be one or two bedrooms and is highly organised with abundant natural light creating an increased perception of space. The home is an economical, robust and low impact building that brings joy to the occupants. A solution that promotes communal living and a strategy to provide affordable housing in the inner city.


    Key Info

    Architect: Fooman Architects
    Builder: Visioneer Builders 
    Engineer: D.M. Landy 
    Energy Consultant: Urban Digestor 
    Completed: 2016
    Photography: Willem-Dirk Du Toit 

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