Embracing An Industrial Past – Three Stories North by Splinter Society
Fitzroy North, VIC, Australia

Photography Sharyn Cairns
Architecture Splinter Society
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Embracing its storied industrial history, Three Stories North sees Splinter Society combine an approach of refinement with a deliberately emotive palette to create a series of spaces that speak to past and present.

Located in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North, Three Stories North is an exercise in repurposing across architectural intentions and vernaculars. Like many of its neighbours, the home was originally conceived as an industrial factory some 140 years ago and now, as a result of urban infill, is in a prime residential location. From the beginning, the concept was driven by an agreed aspiration to maintain and express the original structural and heritage feature elements, and within those constraints, fit the functional storage, joinery, dividing and circulation elements necessary for the building to function as a home. Adopting an emotively rich approach, Splinter Society has layered in textures and tactile elements that bring the old and new together.

As both a relief from the architectural boldness and moodiness of the palette, the significant void within the building acts as a counterbalance.

Originally two townhouses, the encompassing space now occupied is connected through a central stair which structurally hangs from a purpose-built blade wall that dissects the two original buildings and extends up to a nine-metre high skylight. Taking inspiration from a traditional fire stair, this vertical movement connects to the industrial past of the building while also acting as a contemporary convenience. Off of this central element are concealed amenity, joinery and storage that support each of the internal spaces. As a whole, half of the volume is public, a quarter is taken up by more passive intimate spaces and the residual quarter comprises the void itself. Both a relief from the architectural boldness and moodiness of the palette, this open space acts as a counterbalance.

Located in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North, Three Stories North is an exercise in repurposing across architectural intentions and vernaculars.

Pivotal to the success of the alteration is the restoration and celebration of the original comprising elements. Ensuring the operation of fireplaces and preservation of arched doorways was key to this. The large entry door is made from old timber joists removed as part of the demolition works, the original brick is restored and expressed, and the original industrial character is maintained. In order to allow these original patinated elements to be expressed, the new interventions are deliberately dark and intended to create intimate spaces, as a means to retreat from the overall whole.

Three Stories North sees Splinter Society combine an approach of refinement with a deliberately emotive palette to create a series of spaces that speak to past and present.

In order to allow these original patinated elements to be expressed, the new interventions are deliberately dark and intended to create intimate spaces.

Three Stories North captures its intriguing past and creates the current custodians a unique opportunity to live surrounded by this history. Through adopting an emotive approach, Splinter Society has injected a sense of introspection and retreat to create a warm and welcoming home enclave.

Through adopting an emotive approach, Splinter Society has injected a sense of introspection and retreat to create a warm and welcoming home enclave.

Embracing An Industrial Past Three Stories North By Splinter Society Fitzroy North Vic Australia Image 13
Published 26 June, 2020
Photography  Sharyn Cairns
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