The 8³ house is an experiment in small footprint living, maximizing the potential of an infill inner-city site for a sustainable single family dwelling, enriched with the qualities of the heritage urban fabric surrounding it.
The project site, measuring approx. 8 x 8m, is located at the centre of an inner-city North Melbourne block, accessed via a network of laneways and surrounded by converted warehouses and historical houses. The project responds to this character in an unashamedly contemporary way, however draws on the industrial heritage of the area. By infilling a new family home on a small site that had been vacant for many years, the project minimizes environmental impact by supporting existing neighborhood infrastructure and minimizing consumption of land at the urban periphery.
Surrounded by laneways on three and a half sides, the 8³ is an extruded three story volume, with approx. 8m of internal height, completing the 8x8x8 or 8³ volume. Adapting the historic warehouse ‘loft’ plan, providing column free interiors, allowing for future adaptation and flexibility. The ground level comprises garage and home office, the second level; three bedrooms, bathrooms and en-suite, while the third level is open plan living, kitchen and dining, with views to the Melbourne CBD. An outdoor stair from the third level, provides access to a roof top garden providing a high quality outdoor open space on a very tight inner urban site while reducing urban heat island effect, retaining rain-water on site and providing high levels of insulation the living spaces below.
The principal material and structure for the project is pre-cast concrete panels, allowing for very rapid construction while eliminating the need for scaffolding on this very tight site. Bild Architecture is working closely with the RMIT Architectural Robotics Lab to develop an innovative robotic fabrication system for mass customized pre-cast concrete form liners for the project. This system allows for the surface of the concrete to be patterned in a way that is continuously differentiated, that is it allows for the whole façade to be designed as a single composition, rather than a repeating or modular pattern.
The 8×8 house is a study in innovation for contemporary housing in compact inner city infill sites, exploring the adaptation of historic building types through the application advanced manufacture and robotics.