Project location: Rosebrook, Victoria, Australia
Completion Year: 2021
Gross Built Area (square): 27 square meters
Architecture Firm: small. and smallprojects
Website: small. and smallprojects
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Architecture Firm’s Location: Victoria, Australia
Lead Architect: Nick Lane -small.
Builder/designer: Aaron Sheilds -smallprojects
Photography Credits: Derek Swawell
Photographer Website: Derek Swawell
E-mail of Photographer: Derek
Video Credits: Never Too Small
Link Video: YouTube
Telescopic Steel Frame: Murray Adams
Copper Chairs: Michael Gittings
Copper Chairs Website: Michael Gittings Studio
Paintings / all art: Madeleine Peters
Paintings / all art Website: egganddart/madeleine-peters
Interior Styling: Sinead Murphy and Aimee Shields
In 1947, Robyn Boyd (one of Australia’s most notable architects) set out to make good architecture accessible to the general public with the ‘Small Home Service’. Achieving this by selling prominent architect’s plans for £5 each in The Age newspaper, at one stage 40% of new homes in Melbourne were being built through the service.
The designs were characterized by an economic use of space, good solar orientation, and maximized living space. By the mid-1970s, the ‘off the shelf’ plans had disappeared.
Keen public interest in down-sizing has led me to reflect on the impact the Small Home Service had on housing in Australia, and how we can design to the concerns of our own time. After the video of our house was published on Youtube.
We have received a lot of requests for house plans and I have decided to make this accessible for everyone around the world.
Contemporary housing needs to respond to rising house prices, expanding cities and environmental pressures. Our spaces are designed with dimensions comparable to an apartment, which 1/3rd of the world already live in.
We believe this is the future of regional and suburban design; by shrinking the footprint you reduce the material needed, environmental impact and cost.
The future for small is to employ leading architects from around the globe to create a database for small house plans that are affordable. I think that Architecture is a mechanism that improves the human condition and shouldn’t just be a privilege that the rich can afford to enjoy.
The Brook sits in a paddock atop an old Gasometer among the ruins of a flour mill. It is situated in Rosebrook, South West Victoria, on the traditional lands of the Gunditjmara people.
The Brook was designed to capture the remarkable wetlands surrounding the Gasometer, with windows that frame the Moyne river, lush paddocks, and the occasional passing dairy cow.
The brief was further determined by the dimensions of a truck trailer, which is the most suitable size for a tiny home. While it was important to create a home that could be transported beneath power lines, it was also essential that the space felt generous and open.
The solution came in the form of a telescopic frame with a retractable roof and cog system, which lowers the roof for transport and raises it on location, creating a high-ceilinged living space. The system is the central design feature of the home.
Multi-use and intersecting spaces are the focus of the interior in order to maximize the utility of the limited footprint. Staggered flooring creates opportunities for storage and seating as the rooms transition from kitchen to lounge, and mezzanine office to the bedroom. The sliding door closes off the bathroom but reveals hidden storage in the kitchen.
The double-height gives the lounge an additional sense of space. It features a split-level office, where the mezzanine floor becomes a seat for the study and the desk becomes the guardrail.
It is a small space, but it feels much larger, given it shares the height of the lounge. The lower section is encased by steel glass windows and pivot doors. Copper and ply louvers run horizontally along with the glass, hiding fly wire but coaxing the south-westerly breeze to travel up through the building.
Material availability and selection were inspired and informed by the rural setting. Folding into the landscape of rusted red farm sheds and weather-beaten coastal buildings, the Brooke consists of locally sourced or recycled elements that reflect its locale.
Thin strips of locally felled cypress make up the exterior cladding. As it greys from the wind and the rain, it will resemble a house of twigs, twisting and slightly bowing against the oxidizing copper, gradually melding into the landscape.
The floor-to-ceiling windows mean the building is flooded with natural light by day, so the interior materials chosen are warm, textured, and dark. Local volcanic rock lines the bathroom, concrete, and galvanized steel details throughout with recycled hardwood from building demolition.
The staircase at the entrance and deck are all completely recycled from nearby concrete cow troughs and mesh from an abandoned pig shed.
The Brook was designed and built by Nick Lane and Aaron Shields in collaboration under Small and Small Projects. The plans of the Brook are available for purchase from Small.
Aaron formed a new business in 2021 with partners Greg and Luke, designing and manufacturing small architect-designed, transportable buildings, With a focus on quality, sustainability, and the continued use of beautiful, recycled materials.