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  • Fitzroy Corner Studio

    “A large corner protruding window for the upper level studio provides unusually expansive views over the rooftops to the east and over the roof of the heritage protected cottage to the south.”

Title Type Location
Fitzroy Corner Studio Residential - Rear studio/garage Fitzroy, VIC

A professional couple with a young child

What they wanted
To take advantage of the rear street access to their property and provide flexibility for a number of future living and/or working scenarios.

A small new commercial/industrial/residential building within a heritage precinct with further additional heritage constraints.

Site: 297m2 / Floor Area: 71m2

A robust and efficient little building designed to take advantage of the rear street frontage of a property in Fitzroy and provide future flexibility for the family in the main house.

The main downstairs space is a garage designed and soundproofed to allow easy conversion to a music studio or ground level workspace adjacent the rear courtyard of the house. The upstairs space is able to augment the main house or be “locked off” to become an independent tenancy with separate rear street access.

The unusual property has a strip of land, previously a privately created ad-hoc laneway, along the entire length of its southern boundary. This new rear building straddles this forgotten intersection: a two storey white brick portion housing the main spaces on the northern corner, with a single storey portion with black timber weatherboards containing the service spaces on the now defunct laneway. The now erased intersection between the rear street and defunct laneway is also remembered with a gesture in the new building – a large corner protruding window for the upper level tenancy – providing unusually expansive views over the rooftops to the east and over the roof of the heritage protected cottage to the south.



Ground Floor Plan – Options


First Floor Plan – Options

Key Themes:

Living + Working Flexibility

The purpose of the rear building was to provide flexibility for the family in the main house for how they might live, work and play on the property moving into the future. It was initially designed as a garage downstairs for the main house, with an upstairs studio as a separate tenancy, with its own separate access from the rear street, and its own downstairs powder room. It can be adapated into a “granny flat” for their soon-to-be-adult son, with sleeping, eating, studying upstairs, and a bathroom downstairs, and with the larger space as a habitable area. Currently this space is used as a music studio, with the wall and ceiling construction and apertures upgraded accordingly.


The rear lane is a mixture of brick buildings and roller door garages. Utilising these materials, the pragmatic form of the building seeks to make a commercial/industrial contribution to the street. The external colour, weight and height dynamic of the two black and white “parts” of the building relate to those of the main house on the property.


Often it is counter-productive to seek absolute privacy on these tight inner suburban sites. Large apertures with user operated shading, screening, curtains, drapes and blinds enable the owners to moderate their privacy and adapt to the evolving surrounding context, whilst still having access to unusually expansive views beyond this inner suburban site.

Environmental Performance

There is user operated shading to the building’s east and west glazing and solar generated power which largely covers its daytime use.


Tom Ross