The micro-apartment is sited between a university campus and a burgeoning creative quarter, in a 1950s apartment block of identical studios originally built for nurses’ accommodation. At 28 square metres, the project is yet another iteration in the study of micro apartments epitomised by a return to the fundamentals of dwelling and access to the vibrancy of the city.

Project Name: Existenzminimum
Studio Name: WHDA
Location: Fitzroy, Australia
Photography: Sherman Tan
Project size: 28m2
Completion date: 2018

Existenzminimum By WHDA - Sheet1
Bedroom ©Sherman Tan

We relied on familiar design strategies for small spaces; amplified depth of views, reduced materiality, and monumental expression. Framing of intermediate and distant views entwine spaces of high contrasting atmospheres. Joinery extends from wall to wall or floor to ceiling, where the junctions between uneven brick and the edges of ply were painstakingly carved to match.

All existing internal walls were demolished and a 4.5 metre long steel beam was inserted to pick up loads from above. Craned up, threaded through the door and keyed into parti walls, the beams allow for the free organisation of elements, maximisation of filtered northern light and through ventilation.

Existenzminimum By WHDA - Sheet2
View of kitchen ©Sherman Tanv

A veneer of ancillary spaces and storage shields the living space from the corridor, wrapped around steel and sheathed in pale ply. This comprised of a triad of compartments; kitchen, bathroom and threshold. An extra deep bench-top is both easy mise en place and servery, its 1.8m wide dimensions allowing for the full complement of compact appliances and storage.

Black tiles grouted red clad the bathroom from floor to ceiling, intensifying its already intimate proportions. Coterminous between kitchen and bathroom, the raised threshold conceals pipework and shoes, laundry and wardrobe, forming a compressive portal to the living space.

Existenzminimum By WHDA - Sheet3
Interior ©Sherman Tan

As de rigueur of compact living spaces that oscillate between ascetic and social modes, the living room is ambiguously considered in its affordances, characterised only by its orientation towards easterly views of converted warehouses and neighbourhood shop houses.

With a textural backdrop of brick painted white, the living space eschews furniture in conventional form for a floating platform that sleeps 2 or seats 8; the simplest gesture possible.


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