Fitzroy, VIC, Australia
Milieu’s Hertford Street is a domestic sanctuary in a vibrant urban neighbourhood. Working with architecture and interior design practice DesignOffice, Milieu has crafted five unique townhouses that place sustainability and sensitivity to ‘The Old Fitzroy’ at the heart of their design.
These are homes that express a considered and genuinely liveable response to the values of neighbourhood locals: accessible, generously-sized homes that adapt to the varying lifestyles of their residents. Environmentally conscious design hallmarks include abundant natural light, cross-ventilation, passive solar heating and rainwater tanks.
The Hertford Street Residences are an elegant and nuanced response to the immediate urban context, the singular sculptural form of the building’s exterior addresses a series of parameters: single storey workers cottages adjoin the southern boundary, an industrial warehouse abuts the western boundary, and a narrow laneway with terraces is to the north.
Milieu‘s collaboration with DesignOffice centred on an authentic and honest contribution to the local architectural fabric; setting out to create a whole building with five individual dwellings, as opposed to five dwellings made to be a whole
Inside, an inverted vertical approach to spatial planning allows for an intuitive sequence of spaces that captures the function of a much larger home within a lean floorplate. Volume and light are consistent architectural themes, with windows carefully framing views, and living areas and rooftop terraces atop each townhouse enhance the sense of space. Spatial variation, such as articulated ceiling heights, and materiality differentiate zones and living spaces throughout the homes. The raw honest palette combines oak ceilings, cork floors, terrazzo and stainless steel, creating nuanced and authentic interiors that evolve the design language, developed by DesignOffice for Milieu.
The liveable space begins with a secure transition from street to front door, through quiet threshold spaces. Kitchens are positioned to frame views; an island bench is a place to gather and prepare food, while a large block step in the kitchen might be a place for children to occupy. Unlike typical open plan living, where space can feel limitless and undefined, materials and spatial variations have been used to articulate rooms without using walls. Variations in the height of the ceiling and a rich material palette differentiates the kitchen,dining and living areas, while carefully placed windows extend the sense of space.
Milieu is passionate about projects that contribute to their community, with innovative design and sensitivity to their urban context. With
Hertford Street, Milieu reached a better, smarter design outcome than the original permitted scheme, and a use of space that can flexibly adapt to the changing needs of residents – a rarity for the compact lots of our inner-city suburbs.
To unify the complex silhouette, the individual houses are uniformly wrapped in Australian Spotted Gum, Ironbark and Blackbutt; carefully articulated so that houses are read individually at a human scale, but as a collective at an urban level. Fine black metal apertures and edge details contain the timber cladding, whilst black asphalt shingles and expanded metal mesh screens sit as recessive elements against the timber form.
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