A vertical vacuum emphasising original factory heights and flooding the space with light and air allowing the building to breathe.
Words by Vladimir Konovalov
A repurposed chocolate factory in the heart of Melbourne’s inner city, Fitzroy Loft is a project that sensitively integrates the integrity and context of the building’s historical significance with a light and airy contemporary home.
Sympathetic to the bones of the factory, walls and floors were torn to expose charred beams and remnant paint; scars of its industrial past.
Within this historical framework, a series of spaces linked by three internal voids were created – a vertical vacuum emphasising original factory heights and flooding the space with light and air allowing the building to breathe.
The first void is a courtyard. Enclosed by the northern boundary wall and terminated at the ridge of the first gable, it is directly connected to the main living room and kitchen – the homes own “Aussie Backyard”. Galvanised expanded mesh in place of a roof forms the open-air garden, keeping its presence hidden from the public domain.
The second void is located as a zoning device, separating the living spaces from the private. A suspended steel bridge links the upper levels, its perforated floor frames the lower space without weighing on it heavily.
Louvre windows placed at the top of the sawtooth allow hot air to escape in summer months by way of cross ventilation.
The third void is placed in the library, displaying the original timber columns and beams, while the soft southern ambient light touches the library and the mezzanine study above.
Steel fenestrations are used throughout the new insertions to distinguish them from their original timber counterpart, while joinery finishes were chosen for their slight industrial lineage.
Throughout, the sensitively juxtaposed materials are an appreciative nod to the industrial lineage and historic fabric of this incredible building.