Although embedded within a restricted site, House for Eva emboldens itself as a thing of determination and interconnection. MRTN Architects carefully arranges the resulting zones on site, weaving in opportunities to engage with natural light and direct views outward, forming an internally focused and cocooning home.
Tucked unassumingly into the rear of an existing allotment in East Brunswick, House for Eva becomes a study of spatial arrangements and one of ergonomic efficiencies. Needing to interlock a variety of elements within the brief, the eight-metre-wide by 11-metre-deep site is rearranged to work hard. Previously the garden to the adjoining property, the site that House for Eva now occupies was endowed a second life. Together with an impassioned client wanting to design and build a home for her and her daughter, MRTN Architects has transformed the narrow and challenging site into a working series of zones. The space not only provides a private and protective home for the residents, but also allows for the generation of passive income through a tenantable additional residence.
House for Eva not only navigates a small locale but also allows for an existing power pole located in the middle of the site along one of the sides and retains adequate access as needed for maintenance. Balancing the requirements of the brief with budgetary restraints and creating a sense of privacy, openings needed to be carefully placed to allow access to natural light from both vertical and horizontal planes. Another challenge came from ensuring that the exterior and its engagement with the street was still reminiscent of a home and not a utilitarian building. Balancing the scale and proportion of the height, width and length of the form also proved a challenge, resolved through breaking down the overall materiality.
Spread over three levels, each area needed to serve more than just one function and integrating a sense of flexibility was key to that story. Despite the limitations, the home avoids compromise and, with a restricted palette and minimal changes in materiality, the overall scale is increased and the volumes feel larger as a result. There is also a sense of connection through the cohesive use of finish across the levels, moving from a warm timber internally to a series of cooler tones on the upper level. As well as being her own home, with a rentable area, the site also needed to contain an area for the owner to work from, coupled with its own interface amidst the surrounds.