WORDS Penelope Hall IMAGES Ben Edwards
Think 3 C words. CORK, COMPACT, CLASSY.
Motivated by the fantastic light flooding in from the east and bouncing up from the Fitzroy pool below, Ben incorporated this into his Raumplan concept re-design of this large area of open space. As architect and client it gave him the freedom to explore his ideas of the connectivity of light and seamless form without the constraint of someone else’s ideas.
Different spaces created through changes in level or through furniture elements or different materiality’s or different volumes within volumes relieve the need of real walls inside the apartment. Being a relatively small building it was important to Ben, as the client, to maximise the feeling of a larger space and the idea of connectivity between those spaces. ‘I like the idea of being connected whilst being in different spaces of the house to the other ones around me’ offers Ben. The apartment was designed for a life to be lived. His life. In Ben’s words ‘the cubby house is a very special little place and a lovely place to live’.
Spatially it is not ultra-slick but rather a relatively neutral shell. In the joinery and furniture elements a softening is added through the use of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) being Ben’s effort at paying homage to the fact that it was an industrial building but mainly also because tones created from the light reflections on OSB, create additional warmth.
Visually seamless the eye travels easily along the line of a reclaimed limed timber staircase as it flows and eventually forms the elevated platform which creates the foundation for a well-defined kitchen area. ‘The apartment transformed the way I lived my life in my own space’ says Ben. The platform gives you a view of the pool and engages you with friends and family from a different perspective. He designed the kitchen to connect to the different elements of the apartment internally and externally which gives this space a real sense of inclusion in relation to everything going on around it.
The gold mirrored slider being the subtle gateway to the front entrance, so that once inside the entry door is not seen, also houses the wine storage on wheels and guest toilet. It is a wonderful response to practical needs and yet again perception leaves us with a huge feeling of space and of course the reflection of the beautiful light from the pool off the gold tint plays out magically.
Ben loved his time in the cubby house. He had created the perfect space to entertain friends whether small and intimate and relaxing or the more energetic parties. ‘My time there was uplifting and inspiring’ he says.
The eye is not distracted upon entry into this lovely apartment but rather led to perceive an unfolding of space connected to the ever obliging and beautiful light created by the Fitzroy pool. There is a strong feeling that nothing is contained and its features are perceived as being larger as in the bathroom upstairs with its walls not going up to the ceiling but instead giving a sense of being a mini little pavilion inside the overall volume so that when you’re in the bedroom or upstairs looking at the rest of the hallway or the bedroom it feels big because you’re looking over the top of the ceiling rather than looking at a vertical wall.
Ben mentions, “it could be seen to be a strange pallet just using a couple of things rather than making it visually too busy”.