An Exercise in Restraint – Rose Street by Eastop Architects
Fitzroy, VIC, Australia

Architecture Eastop Architects
Words Hayley Curnow
An Exercise in Restraint – Rose Street by Eastop Architects

Establishing a respectful dialogue between old and new, Rose Street by Eastop Architects skilfully reframes the workers cottage vernacular, celebrating crafted details and the articulation of light.

Nestled in the back streets of Melbourne’s dynamic inner-north, Rose Street by Eastop Architects is an exploration in small-footprint living. Working with one of Fitzroy’s archetypal workers cottages, the project demanded an innovative approach to maximise the quality and sense of space. Architect Liam Eastop worked collaboratively with his clients to define core project values centred on the poetics of space. Materiality, composition, shadow and light became driving principles, supporting the simplicity and delight of the clients’ home life.

Nestled in the back streets of Melbourne’s dynamic inner-north, Rose Street by Eastop Architects is an exploration in small-footprint living.

Through deliberate restraint, clean lines and select materiality, Rose Street creates a sense of repose.

Originally unfolding as a series of darkened formal spaces, Eastop Architects sought to bring an airy and expansive quality to the compact home. Exploring the notion of hybridised spaces, the house is dextrously planned to enhance scale. Cranked walls finished in white timber panelling subtly direct movement to the rear of the home, where a light-filled volume houses kitchen and dining programs flanked by brick and concrete bounding walls.

The central kitchen acts as a bold dividing element. Its sculpted timber form holds presence in the room while considered proportions accommodate a four-person dining space set under a broad skylight. Kitchen utilities are thoughtfully masked behind a veil of timber panelling, drawing focus to the detail and craft of a bespoke steel and timber shelf, inviting the owners to personalise the space. Spanning the full width of the floorplate, the skylightconfidently articulates the threshold between old and new, while bathing the dining area and adjacent stairwell in softened light.

Working with one of Fitzroy’s archetypal workers cottages, the project demanded an innovative approach to maximise the quality and sense of space.

Beyond, a welcoming living area is united with the verdant garden, sensitively landscaped in collaboration with Jamie McHutchinson. The site’s rigid boundaries give a sense of lateral containment, contrasted by the subtlety of the frameless glass connecting the lounge with its garden aspect.

Architect Liam Eastop worked collaboratively with his clients to define core project values centred on the poetics of space.

A reductive palette of finishes maintains warmth and tactility, opening to a walled garden oasis.

Exposed brickwork is thoughtfully inched into the interior, further obscuring spatial distinctions of inside and out and giving a sense of living within the landscape. Throughout, a restrained palette of finishes offers bold contrasts – light and dark, tactile and smooth. The mellow warmth of exposed brick sits comfortably against the subtle variation of terrazzo flooring. Contrasts in black and white panelling accentuate the interplay of spatial volumes and architectural planes. The bathrooms beautifully express the juncture of materials, where niches are carved from the overall composition and given sharp definition. A blackened vanity adjunct recedes from the room, while white panelling and terrazzo saturate all remaining surfaces, giving an immersive feel.

These moments of contrast emphasise shadow and lightness, animating the pared-back materials to great effect. Through Eastop’s measured and dexterous approach, Rose Street gains significant amenity while elevating the lived experience of the home. New relationships are defined between light, volume and materiality, crafting a distinctive contemporary residence of great sincerity.

Materiality, composition, shadow and light became driving principles, supporting the simplicity and delight of the clients’ home life.

Deep contrasts in materiality accentuate playful thresholds, creating depth and definition.
Tonal and tactile finishes are enlivened by an interplay of shadow and light.
Published 24 November, 2020
Photography  Willem-Dirk du Toit
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