Located in the Sydney suburb of Cremorne, the project was a response to “unsustainable sprawl” in the area, looking to maximise the awkward, narrow site of the existing home rather than expanding outwards.
“The challenge in Australia for our cities to become more sustainable is that they need to work harder for us – we need to increase the density,” said Studio Bright director Melissa Bright.
“We don’t see this as a negative; we wonder how we might live closer together and get more from it,” she told Dezeen.
“Often disused laneways are seen as security problems – we see them as an opportunity, for a borrowed backyard, for a place to connect with neighbours and for a new address and frontage,” added Bright.
“Even these small spaces can be seen as small urban ‘places’ that we can enliven with activation and care.”
The extension comprises two blocks that step down slightly at the rear of the existing home, containing a large living, dining and kitchen space that wraps a central garden.
In the larger “tower” volume, an upper storey contains a bedroom with a large, deep-set window overlooking the central garden.
As well as restoring the original frontage and verandah, a new study room was also created in the existing home.
Patterned breeze blocks finished in pale pink wrap the new additions, providing dappled light and ventilation to the interiors with narrow areas of planting between them and large, sliding windows.
Mirroring the garden outside, the interiors of the extension have been finished in a palette of earthy shades, with a pale green kitchen and stairs.
Where the extension narrows alongside the courtyard, a long bench has been created for looking out at the garden, which is planted with a birch tree.
“We hoped the use of colour would elevate the humble breeze block, offering warmth to the house and neighbourhood,” Bright said.
“Inside, we choose robust materials that last and that provide warmth and calm to interiors. The kitchen and stair is in tonal greens – in such a small space we wanted to use one colour in a tonal way to try to keep a very hard working space feeling cohesive,” she added.
Previous residential projects by Studio Bright include 8 Yard House, a home on a similarly long, narrow site in Melbourne that was organised around a series of eight courtyards and gardens.
The photography is by Rory Gardiner.
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