Over half of the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy is still occupied by the factories and warehouses built after World War II, well before it became the epicentre of cool urban grunge. Between Brunswick and Smith Streets, on the corner of two narrow cobbled backstreets, are the Leicester Street Townhomes.
When client FourSq bought the site, it was a block of 20 outdated flats, which we have replaced with five unusual vertical family homes. They’re small-footprint mini-towers around a long internal courtyard, making the building a compressed ‘C’.
They combine elements of the Victorian terrace and the post-war Fitzroy warehouse. The Terrace typology has a domestic frontage that engages directly with the street, offering passive surveillance and improving and activating the streetscape.
Each home has four levels, with two or three bedrooms, hydronic heating, exposed concrete ceilings, and a private internal lift.
At ground level, we put a versatile space: an extra bedroom, a lounge room or an office.
These are ideal work-from-home spaces, physically and psychologically separated just enough from the rest of the home.
Each has a door to the street so that clients, grown-up children or housemates can come and go independently.
On the top floor are individual roof terraces.