Mini Living - Invert 3.0
Public Exhibition 
Rapha Melbourne, 32 Guildford Ln

13 – 17 November 2019

In 2019 Green Magazine invited Moloney Architects to participate in the Mini Living ‘ Invert 3.0’ Exhibition.

With a focus on laneways, the exhibition aims to investigate living opportunities for spaces that are commonly used only for access, Exhibiting architects are encouraged to see the potential of unused land and better utilise these corridors to present solutions to pressing issues of housing affordability and land regeneration, as well as unique opportunities for community building and sustainable mobility.

Our concept draws inspiration from the Korean Hanok house, a traditional building typology built arund a central courtyard. In contrast with the idea of a courtyard as a space of seclusion, a Hanok courtyard is often used as a shared community space. In a similar vein, our project ‘Bridge Lane’ welcomes the a public pedestrian laneway (shown red) into the home - blurring the line between public and private space.

Project Descripion 
In the age of shared vehicle ownership and self-driving cars, the traditional concept of a laneway as a dedicated zone for a few privately-owned vehicles has become an anachronism.

Bridge Lane plays with the idea of the laneway as a combined private/public realm using a series of residences to bridge the lane way and occupy the unused air space above. Embracing a connection between the city space and the private home, the design establishes horizontal and vertical interactions between the laneway and the internal perimeter of the structure. Walking down the public laneway literally takes you through the middle of a series of private homes. 

Imagining a future where sites can be acquired up and down both sides of the subject lane way, the proposal combines two 15 x 8m blocks on opposite sides of the lane. The ground level footprint is 244sqm, with levels above creating an additional 45sqm as they utilise the airspace above the lane. In total, 822sqm of floor space is available over three levels to accommodate a three-bedroom home, two home offices, and an apartment that can be linked to the main residence to open the house up for inter-generational living. More than half of the available floor area is devoted to open space – with a roof terrace and a 10m diameter ovaloid light court penetrating the centre of the plan.

As a medium-density prototype, Bridge Lane proposes a model of living that moves beyond rigid land use definitions to carve out and utilise unused urban space.

Ground Level
As outlined in the City of the Darebin’s ‘Economic Land Use Strategy’ (Spade Consulting - 2014), Northcote and the surrounding suburbs are “…continuing a shift towards a post industrial economy”. With increasing land prices adding pressure to densification, future economic growth in the local area is more likely to rely on professional services and creative industries rather than traditional manufacturing that requires large spaces. To this end, the ground level of the concept reimagines the lane way space as a pedestrian corridor connecting a creative community. Taking cues from the traditional Singapore Shop House, a series of home businesses, family day cares, artist studios, architectural offices, design agencies, etc - activate the laneway and transform the ‘lane’ into a ‘micro-street’. Below the ovaloid light court, full-size trees grow and public-private interactions occur vertically through the core of the house itself. By borrowing light from the oculus above, the public realm is expanded beyond the laneway’s original boundaries to create a space to dwell and converse.

Level 1
The Piano Nobile above the commercial streetscape includes two kids’ bedrooms, a larger main bedroom suite, a family bathroom, and a study area. On the opposite side of the light court, a 105sqm apartment can be privately rented out or opened-up and connected to the main house (via the balcony space) to accommodate older generations living side by side with the family unit. Views across the light court are mediated via the tree canopy, with additional privacy controlled with switchable glass between the round concrete vertical structure.

Level 2
The top floor contains an open living, dining, kitchen and sitting area as well as a large roof terrace. With a nod to LeCorbusier’s elevated street in the Unite d’Habitation in Marseilles, the roof terraces can be connected to create a linear parkland of communal gardens and shared outdoor facilities.

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