The Tiny Home Movement - The Garden Bunkie by Reddog Architects
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Resisting the typical impulse to extend their small cottage to allow for its growing family, clients of the Garden Bunkie chose to engage Reddog Architects to create a standalone dwelling to the rear as a multifunctional offering.
With a growing family and associated evolving functional needs, the choice to extend outward, upward or demolish was not a consideration for the clients of The Garden Bunkie. Instead, their curiosity toward the ‘tiny home’ movement was the seed from which this standalone structure grew. Completed in 2018, with an internal floor area of 27 square meters and external area of 25 square metres, a structure akin to a granny flat or garden shed was the answer to the multifunctional brief.
Named ‘bunkie’ by one of the owners in reference to their Canadian and the like-named guest cottages in Ontario, the Garden Bunkie is located on a small site in Brisbane. The brief for this space was considerable, therefore it needed to deliver on flexibility of function. Tasked with proposing a quiet retreat for a new mother, an evening workspace and a guesthouse for extended family, Reddog Architects were required to be creative and ingenious with their response. The resulting operable exterior, moveable façade, extended deck and integrated and concealed joinery elements were key, as was a keen consideration for budget.
The use of lightweight construction methods, and viewing the external as an extension of the backyard (not necessarily an extension of the main cottage structure), meant the materiality could be less formal, and consequently more cost-effective. The timber screens then add a layer of richness and warmth that otherwise would not exist in its absence. Internally, the palette is comprised of whitewashed ply, plasterboard and white tiling to create a clean contemporary palette that was too restrictive or dependent on trend-driven aesthetics.
Built around established trees in an underutilised area of the garden, the Garden Bunkie is designed as an insertion into an existing space, not intended to require the landscape to be redesigned around it. The consideration of placement of openings and screens allow for ventilation, light control, privacy and a sense of connection to the existing cottage and landscape. Together with Charles Warren Constructions, Reddog Architects has taken the challenge of a complex brief and through clever planning, integration and a deliberate approach to materiality and context, created an enviable escape. Through these elements, the Garden Bunkie maintains its own presence and detachment from the existing cottage that allows for the creation of its own identity.