Engaging with the urban realm – Melbourne

Pop-up House attempts to counter the status quo of a new family home in a predominantly heritage setting. A common approach with new homes is to occupy majority of the site whilst retaining minimal front setback with a fortified sheer built form that shuts itself off from the public realm interface. FIGR Architecture & Design approach was to create a home that challenges the aforementioned notion in order to discover opportunities in the often static, underutilised and forgotten. Focused on engaging with the urban realm, by inviting opportunities for interaction between inhabitants, passer-by’s, and neighbours to promote a sense of community engagement.
Located in Essendon, Victoria, when presented from the street the silhouette is a sympathetic nod to the familiar roof forms of the surrounding buildings. The upper volume of the home hovers above a landscaped mount that creates the beginning of a journey into the house. Flanked by existing neighbouring brick walls, that cleverly become internal edges which establish a dialogue between old and new.
The hovering belly of the house guides the guests into the house through lush, landscaped gardens creating a multi-faceted zone in the front yard that can adapt and evolve in use. The green landscaped wedge is planted with native vegetation which gently slopes back to the street frontage creating a mount that engages the public realm. From the outset the studios clients felt their new home had to engage with the context beyond the site boundary creating a visually engaging public setting where neighbours and friends can be part of informal gatherings.
The walls are predominantly white painted weatherboards with accents of silvertop ash cladding. The roof form allows for strategic placement of solar panels for optimum capture. A 5000-litre water tank has been buried in the front yard. All the roof water is captured and reused to flush toilets and garden irrigation. Custom fabricated mechanically operable screens are strategically positioned on the first-floor western façade for controlled screening of the Western Sun whilst allowing for maximum flexibility in managing solar access and views to the nature strip.

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