MINI LIVING INVERT 3.0 GRANT AMON ARCHITECTS
LANEWAY ARCHITECTURE November 2019
PROPOSAL: BITES OF THE APPLE
1.0 PROTOTYPE MODULE FOR MINI LIVING
We have taken this opportunity to develop a modular prototype unit system that has the potential to expand both horizontally and vertically as laneway sites and scale suit the purpose.
We started with a double height block form to the entire site, then carved off ‘bites of the apple’ as such, both in plan and elevation layout to the module. Thus, the plan view mimics the laneway elevation view, both informing each other as pieces of the block or apple are chewed away to form open space voids and courtyard spaces.
Where the opportunity arises, a rooftop garden level is proposed, tucked behind an increased parapet wall, offering rooftop access, open space, garden outdoor living and controlled views. The typical module then is either MOD A, two level or MOD B, three level where overlooking, building bulk and height allow a higher density development.
These two typical modules have then been joined, mirrored and assembled to form a potential continuous development along the laneway. They can work as simple infills or extended joined blocks of ‘vacant land’ at the rear of these typical suburban blocks.
Further adding potential to the system, the modules can also be stacked vertically on sites that a higher density is required or encouraged to provide medium even high-rise development on a small slim footprint.
2.0 MODULE DESIGN
The module bites or cut outs provide access to light and double height space to form both open and closed light courts. The corner Entry cut out allows for possible vehicle access and parking ( if required ) along with a decent front ‘yard’ that enables street or laneway connection and occupant interaction with the street and surrounds. The curved opening is framed by a vertical wire or mesh frame for vegetation and can have sliding mesh screen security doors to afford easy pedestrian or vehicle access.
The other main ‘bite’ is to the opposite corner of the block, creating a closed private court off the main Living / Dining areas on the Ground Floor and the Bedrooms/ study off the first floor.
In the Mod B version, the main stair is extended to provide a rooftop Utility room and outdoor living area for relaxation, clothes drying, garden and produce.
Each module has at Ground Level the main Kitchen and Dining area and the open plan Living area with a small WC and Laundry discreetly tucked away. Upstairs are typically two large bedrooms, each with En Suite, a study and smaller second lounge area with balcony.
As the modules stack either vertically or horizontally the edge conditions and cutouts adjust to suit and begin to form a dynamic patterned facade of circular and ovoid openings, slots and solids.
The modular concept can readily be built with many materials, but we see the unit as a sustainably sourced simple glue-laminated timber frame and timber strip cladding with metal roofing and screening. Climbing plants are encouraged to grow up double height screen mesh to form green curtain walls. Windows would all be double glazed, natural ventilation and cross flow of air enabled to every room. Orientation to north light depends on block alignments with interior layouts flexible and adaptable.
Alternative cladding or wall options may include precast concrete, metal, stone or even double skin mesh and glass / acrylic sheet wall systems. Ground floor would be a concrete slab for thermal mass but upper levels simple timber frame and flooring.
4.0 SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
The project has potential for various ESD features, solar roof panels, water capture and storage/ re use, high thermal efficient wall and floor systems, use of vegetation wall and courtyards for natural greening / cooling, orientation for sunlight access and modulation, modular design repeating units for efficiency and replication , facade and wall options for individual statements/ colour/ material choice, rooftop green space for produce, compost, clothes drying and communal activities to name a few.
The ‘Bites of the Apple’ prototype takes the potential of the underutilised spaces at the rear of blocks and along laneway and like a row of apples at the market allows informed and considered bites into the mass, forming a potential for new living and community building. Chew on it!