Architects: Austin Maynard Architects
Project: Brickface House
Design Architect: Mark Austin
Builder: TCM BuIlding Group
Location: Richmond, Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Tess Kelly
Text by Austin Maynard Architects
What is this?
Brickface is a compact building situated at the rear of an existing house in Richmond, Melbourne. It consists of a garage at ground level, studio living/guest suite at first floor, and a roof deck. A new pool and entertaining space extends the home’s entertaining area, while the roof terrace becomes the missing productive garden. The main living area of the existing house faces south and opens up onto the new terrace and pool. The backdrop to this view is the rising high wall of Brickface
Shadows and the sculptural form
Brickface is constructed of recycled red brick, interspersed with contrasting red and blue glazed bricks from the PGH Vibrant range (Rhapsody and Watermelon) to introduce light & shadow, pattern and colour. The round windows of the building and the sculptural form of the parapet combine with the character of the recycled brick to soften the solid block. The spiral stair adds further sculptural interest.
New place, new space
The clients asked for a new building at the end of their rear yard. The previous garage, with studio above, was large – it dominated the garden and compromised their outdoor space. The new building, though taller, is smaller, tighter and more efficient. It minimises its footprint to maximise the rear yard.
A generation living in laneways?
Melbourne’s property market is so inflated, that we’re now seeing a generation that are not only unable to buy a home, but also struggling to find affordable places to rent close to their work, school and community. Melbourne does have one trick up its sleeve that many parents are increasingly exploring. Melbourne is strewn with under-utilised laneways and many home owners are creating a second residence in their backyard with frontage to the laneway, where their adult children can live during university and early employment. These second residences are becoming fully independent studio homes for adult children, allowing them to save and plan, whilst continuing to contribute to the essence of Melbourne’s most vibrant and cultural suburbs.
Changing transport needs
While Brickface offers the security of a permanent, independent home for the owner’s daughter in years to come, it has also been designed to adapt to changing transport needs. With the rapid onset of driverless cars we will see home owners searching for new uses for their garage spaces. The ground level at Brickface has been deliberately designed with high ceilings, so it can easily be adapted into a generous living space. The garage door can be removed and replaced, to create a generous entry into a lounge, or alternatively the owners daughter may choose to start a business on the ground floor and simply replace the garage door with a glazed shop front. There is a swath of potential for this space that, at the moment, is only a temporary storage zone for vehicles. Yet, in the future, it can be so much more.
Brickface sits hard up to the laneway on two sides, in a corner position. The building terminates a row of garage doors and newer outbuildings that tumble down the hill. Built from recycled brick, the structure is a solid and secure bookend that presents a character that looks to have existed well before the other buildings along the lane.