Inspired by the Japanese narrow wooden houses of Kyoto, Leichhardt Machiya is an exercise in pushing limitations and working within constraints. Studio Haptic combine a measured rigor with a clear vision, to propose a home of efficiency and affordability.
Located in Sydney’s inner west, Leichhardt Machiya takes heeded inspiration from the complex and well-conceived narrow homes of Kyoto and applies the underpinning philosophies to this urban condition. With similar restricted sized sites with parallel intricate complexities, the team drew similarities to the problems faced, and those proven and solved in the northern Japanese city. As owner and architect, Studio Haptic was immersed in the process and as the intended occupant, wanted to use the project as an opportunity to explore the site’s full potential, while still conforming to the strict planning controls of the area. A project that evolved over many years, the approach was to solve the bigger issues, by thinking small.
Known for their clever responses to inner city and highly densified living, the Japanese philosophies underpinning the typical Machiya were the obvious inspiration for the site. Having an affinity with the country from travelling, the fascination with this housing vernacular was instinctive. Traditionally a timber home, the small and compact style of the Machiya sees interlocking efficiency where a natural hierarchy of spaces is created through the controlled order of architectural elements. The use of sequencing and journey is applied to create defining spaces between garden and interiors and public and private spaces, centred around internal courtyards. Taking inspiration from the paper and timber screening of these traditional homes, Leichhardt Machiya uses moveable elements to open and close the home. At the centre of the philosophy is the celebrated experience between the home and nature, and this is expressed throughout.
With similar restricted sized sites with parallel intricate complexities, the team drew similarities to the problems faced, and those proven and solved in the northern Japanese city.
On a mere 6m x 35m site, the narrow response needed to integrate a series of flexible spaces, most notably the option for a multifunction space. Whether to be used as a home office or potential passive income earner (as Airbnb for example), Studio Haptic wanted to allow for ease of transition of use over time. Throughout, similar efforts are engrained, to allow for the same interchangeable nature between spaces. Combining a contemporary palette of warming timber, marble and crisp white, there is a balance created not just in the spaces, but in the finishes used throughout. While strong linear lines accentuate spaces, softer and rounded timber elements and thin metal work offer textural variation.
Leichhardt Machiya is a contemporary reinterpretation of its Japanese neighbour and offers a language of rhythm and balance through its rigor. By thinking small, and reassessing the model of the contemporary home, Studio Haptic proposes an interesting, light-filled and humble alternative to the traditional residential approach