Islington Air

Taking inspiration from the immediate neighbourhood, Bourne Blue architects have designed a multi-purpose home that is robust in nature, skateboard friendly and responds accordingly to a small site.

15 May 2014

With only a 283m2 site, the brief was modest, with the owners a difficult squeeze for a reasonable sized house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and single garage.


The design response was to maximise the width of the built form fronting the street and to build to the southwest boundary so as to create two private and protected garden areas for the dwelling to open into. The house would also ideally have a soundproof band room with a grassless garden.


An exterior skin of face brick and zincalume corrugated cladding shields the interior spaces. Internally, high ceilings, northeast facing windows and high-level louvers allow the small dwelling footprint to be light-filled and to have a generous sense of space.


The transition from the street into the dwelling is carefully controlled via a small, low-walled front garden and roofed external entry area. A high masonry ‘graffiti’ boundary wall screens views of the front door from the footpath and will be painted by one of the clients’ friends. Polished concrete floors provide an ideal surface for indoor skateboarding, and act as thermal mass. Plywood features in the kitchen as well as the living room ceiling to add warmth and texture.


“This project was a delight to work on as the clients were quite open to ideas and didn’t feel they had to follow any preconceptions about the site. They both have creative backgrounds and recognised quickly when their input as client was important, and then when they should rely on architectural advice. There are no parts of the project where client decisions detract from the whole – in fact the project is richer because of it,” says Shane Blue, director at Bourne Blue architecture. 


An example is the kitchen splash-back, which features a panel created by the clients, comprising images of their favourite musicians. A windowless storeroom at the back of the garage provides an ideal band practice room and display area for skateboard decks, a passionate hobby of one of the clients.


Bourne Blue Architecture