Harmonising with surrounds
With a narrow 8m frontage, Crosshatch sought to understand, borrow, weave and tie together this new kid on the block with the language of its neighbours, whilst delivering a contemporary, considered and striking home.
Project Name: Folding Floor House
Studio Name: Crosshatch
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Jaime Diaz-Berrio
Project size: 220 m2
Site size: 232 m2
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 2
The core opportunity for a reinterpreted form was presented by a converted slipper factory directly opposite. By mirroring the sawtooth roof, the function of this classic mid-century warehouse roofline was repurposed and reinterpreted, in a folding slab and roof that allowed scale and light penetration deep within the home.
The striking and intriguing form that resulted, opened up opportunities internally to fold the requirements of the programme through the ground and first floors. The front elevation mirrors the height of the neighbouring townhouses to the west. This harmony with next door continues back through the site with the small internal courtyard in line with next door’s setback, utilising the vertical space to flood the kitchen with light.
Distinctive bands from the apartment block to the east are reapplied to the frontage through spandrel and window treatments. Brick, timber and steel are used in a highly detailed combination to unify these sampled elements, creating an elegant and contemporary façade that feels right at home.
Punctuated by the strong steel lines that define the folds, the distinctive timber fins soften the angular form and are a beautiful yet hard working-feature. Through a complex behind the scenes arrangement, the variation in the fin angles evoke a distinct rhythm felt inside and out. Tying together a sense of seclusion and place, the angles are strategic not only in combatting sight lines, they direct and filter light with the sunlit timber bringing a gentle warmth to the interiors across both floors.
Ascending with the fold
Through the ascending angles, the folding floor form carries this rhythm inside across both floors. As well as answering spatial, functional and contextual considerations, the upward flick of the floor brings northern light deep into the home and adds an unexpected generosity to the living room. A distinctly secluded space for living, dining and entertaining, the open plan ground floor is bathed in light through the saw tooth openings in the ceiling, the timber fins and from the rear garden through full height glazing.
Timber detailing and the distinctive steel lines from outside are carried through the stair ascending to the first floor. Wrapping together a second centralised living space, two bedrooms, and family bathroom, the upward fold gives privacy to the master suite.
Punctuated by hard working elements
Opportunities for multi-functionalism were seized upon wherever possible and as a result, the floor plan feels far more expansive than its actual size. Doubling its work, the kitchen courtyard filters light through the glass splashback but is also opened onto by the guest bedroom and bathroom which are tucked away at the front with surprising seclusion.
Meticulous timber detail in the joinery disguises mechanical and electrical services and the laundry is cleverly concealed under the rising fold. At every opportunity function is tucked away from view through thoughtful layouts and sharp detailing.
Borrowing design elements from nearby, Folding Floor House seeks to find its own beat resolutely among an eclectic group of neighbours and exemplifies successful small footprint living with each space carefully proportioned and every square metre used just where it should.