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Phoenix Townhouse

How to maximise flexibility on a 29m2 lot?

Located in a laneway at the edge of the CBD, this tiny lot is an open area behind an existing building. The site measures exactly 31.6m2, however the first odd 300mm is unusable as it forms part of a throughfare for a carpark of a residential tower behind. The usable area was hence reduced to exactly 29.1m2.

With flexibility in mind, we wanted to provide the maximum facilities it can offer within the site. Locating all services and wet areas on one side and flexible rooms to the other side, this building could be used any way the tenants wanted. Comprising of 3 levels, each floor has a (habitable) room that could either be used as bedroom, office or living/dining. In theory, this building could be leased out to 3 students, or a couple, or a single occupant with home office. Lifestyle in Melbourne is ever changing, and so will the usage of this townhouse.

Receiving a planning permit for this development was challenging and fun at the same time. The main challenge was to try and avoid overlooking into the residential building on the opposite side of the laneway. We had to strategically place the windows, so no views in or out would affect neither building.

Overshadowing was not an issue as the building to the south is part of our title, and is also a roof. The main other concern was the overshadowing of the building opposite onto our site! So we adjusted our planning application to show the effect of the overshadowing from the opposite building. By doing this, it became clear that we needed solar shading on the top floor, especially during late afternoons. We therefore added a 300mm protruding vertical screen, blocking some of the western sun and reducing the need for additional cooling. Funnily enough, the 300mm overhang was still within our boundary.

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