Kew Studio

2009 - 2013
Kew, Victoria, Australia

A freestanding 24 sq m studio constructed to the north of an existing house in Kew. The design of the original house in 1996 assumed a second stage building to be located immediately to the north of the existing house. Over time additions to the neighbouring house to the north and the construction of an entirely new house to the east seemed to consume the outdoor space around the original house and I decided that the only way to oppose this encroachment was to build a monolithic structure that reclaimed control over the scale of the original house and garden. The idea of opposing the (evolved) context extended to the existing house itself so that the new studio is deliberately solid and dark in comparison to the light filled and sunscreen veiled earlier house. The new studio is vertical, the existing house horizontal. The existing and new buildings are connected by their common materiality - oxidised steel and recycled hardwood flooring - but are physically separate. The notion of opposition extends to the direct dialogue between this new tiny tower and the skyscrapers of the Melbourne skyline to the west.

The new studio meets the current statutory requirements for sustainable design. It includes a small shower room and pull out bed so that it can be used as a guest room in the future. For now it is used by my son, a university student. I completed the design of this project around the same time as the RMIT Design Hub was completed and it served as a poignant reminder that the power of architecture is independent of scale.