Name: Bike House
Architect: FMD Architects
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Project Team: Fiona Dunin, Katherine Peasley, Robert Kolak, Caroline Tan, Alex Peck, Ryan Fothergill
Year of Completion: 2014
Photographer: John Gollings
Builder: Construction 32 P/L
Structural Engineer: Perrett Simson P/L
Building Surveyor: Wilsmore Nelson Group P/L
Site Area: 298 sq. m
Total Building Area: 202 sq. m
A site admeasuring approximately three hundred square metres, it was meant for a home to accommodate a family of four, and the brief was specific about ensuring flexibility in spaces, so that they can be altered and enhanced with the growth of their children and the needs of the family. The name ‘Bike House’ is fairly indicative of the affinity towards bikes the family has, and indeed, an important requirement from the design was spaces dedicated for the bikes, the primary means of transport, internally as well as externally.
The design principles applied involved creating of a simple cement sheet box, which has been tweaked with folded out elements for shading devices and privacy screens. The fence which surrounds the plot unravels from the building itself, as it folds down from the entry canopy onto the street and then winds around to conceal the bin enclosure. There are triangular perforations in the fence which fulfil the purpose of allowing penetration of light and is also a measure against local graffiti artists. The same material is also as a privacy screen on the first floor, ensuring privacy between neighbours. In a contrasting light, the southern wall is made of recycled bricks and is therefore offered as a canvas for these local graffiti artists. Internally, it has been left expose to serve as storage for racing bikes.
While the exteriors appear to be sleek, in the form of a grey sculpted box, the interiors have been designed with warmth, the rich texture and colour reflecting the lives of the users. A simple palette of exposed brick, concrete slab, local timber, ply and laminate have been used in the interiors. The conceptual unfolding of spaces and elements has been employed internally as well, with the kitchen ceiling wrapping down to transform into the cabinetry. Stone and time have been spliced together, imitating shadows cast by the canopies externally. Spaces fold and twist over themselves, in both the joinery and tiling, responding to the stretching and folding occurring on the façade.
The planning of the house has incorporated bedrooms as well as living areas, along with three additional spaces, which are flexible zones, as sought by the brief. For instance, one is situated downstairs and can ideally be used as a separate lounge, or even a bedroom, and similarly, the space so designated on the first floor can also be used as a play area, or a study, according to the requirements of the family in different times and context. At the end of the brick corridor space, a home office has been included, where either parent can work from home, or the children can make use of the space for a computer area. Moreover, a shed has been carefully concealed in the southern side of the building, which has space for storage more bikes and tools for bike builds.
It is evident that the design has been conceptualised according to the wishes and comfort of the family. Homes such as these serve as an example to the practice of architecture and design. It has been ensured that this modest box comprises of ample space for the family, and each space has arisen after careful thought and consideration. Not only is this extremely viable for the family, such thought in design addresses issues on larger scales as well, such as environmental considerations. When every resource has been accounted for, and due thought has been given to modulations in the future, wastage is avoided and designs and projects are made sustainable. The house aims to be an exercise in modesty, economy and flexibility, whose sculpted form responds directly to its contextual requirements.
About the Architects:
FMD Architects are based in Melbourne, and their projects include various commercial and residential ventures. Working on such multifarious projects, their underlying ideology is understanding the personal and collective histories of their clients, which aid the in enriching their ideas for the projects. They ensure that their work is conceptualised and executed after a thorough research of the background and context.
-Devashree Vyas, Volume Zero.