Sculpted Lightness – Garden Tower House by Studio Bright
Tucked into the eclectic and industrious Cremorne, Garden Tower House is cleverly expanded within a distinctly clad form that encourages interactions. Studio Bright shapes the existing cottage to respond to a more contemporary aesthetic, reorienting views out to a soft and private landscape.
Like much of the inner and earlier suburbs of Melbourne, the merging of heritage cottages and industrial buildings creates an engaging urban landscape. Now with these quaint cottages being transformed into expanded homes and the brick-encased factories becoming apartments and townhouses, these areas are experiencing a reawakening. Born from such a reimagining, Garden Tower House navigates the constraining proportions of a traditional workers’ cottage. Studio Bright expands the overall useable floor area whilst carving out opportunities for connection.
Named after the garden – a core defining element of the home – the addition is shaped by the creation of two distinct tower forms that open up to a newly crafted garden and an integrated rooftop terrace space. Both the natural light brought in across the seasons and the plantings help to control the interior climate. Encased in breeze blocks, the towers are expressive, and their grounded weightiness contrasts the lightness of the timber weatherboard of the cottage. Curiously, the heavier material allows an increased sense of connection to the natural elements, whilst the timber form represents a more recessive enclosure.
Aligning the balance between open and closed areas with the readjusted planning of the home, the pushing of the additional form to each of the surrounding boundaries was a necessary gesture. Whilst the laneway plays a role of buffering neighbouring homes, the rear of the home becomes its own public urban space. Within the narrow 4.5metre-wide site, the new tower forms vary in height yet sit conscientiously behind the silhouette of the original cottage. The double-height space places a new principal bedroom suite on the upper level, whilst an increase of light and ventilation is encouraged below. Connecting the towers is a covered corridor space that also integrates seating and storage to form both a contemplative space and a play area. A careful mix of robust and low maintenance finishes is combined with the warmth of timber.
Intended to eventually become encased in the growing landscape, Garden Tower House is seen as its own evolving and living entity. Whilst elements of the past remain, Studio Bright ensures a contemporary relevance allows the interior to breathe through core connections outward.