Tiger Prawn

Fitzroy North, VIC, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Project Type
  • Residential
  • Fitzroy North, VIC, Australia
Interior Designers
  • 140m2
Project Year
  • 2018
  • Shannon McGrath
Project Team
  • Monique Woodward
  • Scott Woodward
  • Zoe Diacolabrianos
  • Issy Jooste
  • Moon Building Group
  • Block Work Orange
  • Brickworks
  • Cafe Culture
  • Insitu
  • Straw Brothers
  • Fitzroy North, VIC, Australia

Tiger Prawn by WOWOWA is a residential interior design and architecture project located in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy North.

 Glorified in architecture forever, the humble tiger prawn becomes a two-pronged deity for this Fitzroy North renovation. What started as a nickname for the brown & gold Hawthorn brick frill pattern typically adorning the apertures of Victoria Terraces – ‘Tiger Prawn typology’ was embraced by the then new clients who sought out WOWOWA for the coining.

The zig-zag (almost scalloping) pattern was then translated & embellished to form the full-blown scalloped extension to the rear. In the spirit of cohesion & reinterpretation of the existing visual language, the weightiness of the bricks was critical. The sculptural silver form exaggerates the verticality of the gesture as it whimsically draws a fortified silhouette in the sky.

This mirroring front to back comes from a desire to be publicly generous; that the new intervention be as crafted & ornamental as the front. The back façade dramatically turns the corner one meter off the boundary allowing it to also dance along the Northern edge. As well as providing a handsome vista for neighbours, it allows for large north facing windows that facilitate an impressive amount of borrowed landscape for such a tight 5m wide site. The fire regulated setback windows dually create substantial storage below and a high-level pocket garden.
A “V” lightwell with a curved glass corner to the Southern boundary breaks up the mass and again, fills the space with light & ventilation.

Another opportunistic outdoor moment is the upstairs deck above the kitchen – accessed either out the heritage window from the kid’s bedroom or from the small staircase in the thin bridge between old and new where a desk snugly fits. This surprising cubby house like deck exemplifies the maximum amenity gained for such an urban condition, for the two children now & into the future.

The tasty crustacean shell of the home clearly inspired the fluted geometry, so the colour scheme followed suit – the grey and green of the raw prawn. A commitment to the thematic runs deep; the pearl earring light ball on the brick, cuttlefish bone ribbed pendants, shadow play on the highly decorative concrete floors tie together the semi-compartmentalised kitchen living & dining areas of the downstairs.

The storage filled space saving dining bench seat sits within a pop out box on the boundary and facilitates beautiful views to the Street & East to the cantilevered scallops. This area is lightweight and speaks to a prioritising of economies. This modest build also packs a sustainability punch with insulated double brick cavity, double glazing, cross ventilation, thermal floor mass & a tidy footprint.

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Shannon McGrath

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