Minifie van Schaik Architects
MvS Architects
Curzon Street Housing

Think Brick Australia
Curzon Street, North Melbourne
link to google maps

Through opportunities provided by CNC brick laying technology, we imagined a fa├žade where each brick had a unique relationship to its neighbour and empowered ourselves to add innovation to the ancient technology of unit masonry.

We are enamored by a brick as a metaphor for an individual. The individual is comprised of genetic and instinctual characteristics, but also intrinsically responsive to conditions of the present. The individual exists within society, and is dependent upon it. In turn, the nature of society is dependent on the relationships between and the behaviours of individuals within it. With this metaphor we empowered ourselves to add innovation to the ancient technology of unit masonry while retaining a hold on its etymology.

We expanded this metaphor to encapsulate a residential model we were interested in investigating and the relationship between this model and its locale.

Through consultation with Rob Adams we have chosen a 1300m2 site owned by the Melbourne City Council on Curzon Street, North Melbourne. The site is proximal to public transport, child care, parks, and the Errol Street retail strip.

Our project, entitled Collective Noun, comprises 25 affordable residential units, 15% of which conform to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), a small showroom with associated office space, a half basement providing cursory car spaces, and ample bicycle parking.

One third of the site is given over to publicly accessible space. The building's height of 14m is defined by what can be comfortably accessed by stair. Two flights of stairs allow access to the first two levels above ground, with the upper level of duplexes having an internal stair to their upper bedrooms. This augers well with the general massing of the street-scape.