Architects are renowned for taking calculated risks when it comes to designing projects for their clients, but do the same principles apply when architects design for themselves?
For Branch Studio, designing their own creative space in the middle of a picturesque apple orchard in Officer, it was a chance to demonstrate the principles which informed their own practice and aesthetic, and so the idea for an innovative glass box was born.
Housing two architects and a landscape designer, the form of the building was composed with respect to the relationship between each designer’s function and the studio itself – hence the architects face outwards to the orchard while the landscape architect faces in a small landscaped courtyard.
A thin window glazing system was introduced to create a minimum threshold between the desks and the orchard and provide the ‘glass box’ effect the two ultimately wanted to achieve.
Recycled materials were used where possible in the design, with sheets of old corrugated iron foraged from the paddocks around The Studio and used to create a weathered shell, while the glazing was recycled from an old abandoned commercial project.
Inside the studio, raw, untreated plywood floor and ceilings contrast against the white walls, with a series of layered plywood boxes that are tucked into wall cavities between studs to form book and folder storage.
The result is a modest, minimal yet sophisticated space which allows the users to connect with nature while tapping into the creativity and focus afforded by the building’s design.
Far from making a grandiose statement this studio’s impact is in its simplicity. It’s small environmental footprint and use of recycled foraged materials is considered in theory and sustainable in practice – and the ability to interact with the beautiful surroundings is sure to encourage the creativity to flow.
The Studio by Branch Studio Architects is the winner of this year’s Commercial Design category at the 6th Architeam Awards, which aim to raise the profile of
small to medium sized architecture firms and celebrate their contributions to Victoria’s architectural landscape.
The Studio plus all other winners of this years awards are currently on display at a free exhibition until December 1 at No Vacancy Gallery, located at QV in Melbourne’s CBD.