Decoding Design

In Australia, a house reduction

In Australia, a house reduction

Posting in Architecture

A home remodel shows how going smaller is a smarter option.

Giant McMansions might be making a comeback in the US, but in Australia, going smaller is a smarter housing move. MAKE Architecture's first house reduction project shows how smaller can be a more comfortable and more sustainable way to live.

Located in a dense, urban area of Abbotsford, Victoria, the project is home to a family of four. The homeowners and their architects opted to downsize instead of going with the usual addition to remodel the 215 square meter (2300 square foot) house.

Using screens and sliding doors, the architects transformed an indoor living space into a deck which can become part of the kitchen/dining space or the lounge. Because of the temperate climate in Abbotsford, Victoria, the deck can be used year round. The exterior screens also provide privacy from the busy street and shade in the summer.

Custom furniture with built in storage, smaller but taller spaces, and multifunctional rooms also maximize the flexibility and efficiency of the house. A focus on quality of space over quantity created a cozy but not constricting home.

An alternative, slightly radical renovation idea, the project is an improvement on adaptive reuse since the building is existing but the footprint is reduced. MAKE Architecture see smaller, more flexible houses as essential to conserving resources and reducing carbon footprints.

In the case of housing in urban areas with high construction and land costs, smaller looks and feels better.

The Abbotsford house reduction is nominated for two 2012 Houses awards.

Images: copyright Peter Bennetts courtesy MAKE Architecture

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure