Melbourne-based Architecture Architecture has renovated a Cairo Studio Apartments to create a fully functional home in a mere 24 square metres.

The renovation project, dubbed The Purple Rose of Cairo, is one of the 20 studios featured in the Cairo Apartments, an art deco landmark that represents part of Melbourne’s architectural heritage.

The building was originally designed and built in 1936 by Australian modernist architect Best Overend and features 20 studios and eight one-bedroom apartments, all of which overlook a private central garden.

The flat roof was once used as a social and sporting space for residents and guests and was accessible by curved, cantilevered concrete stairs. The main building also once featured a shop and communal dining room, eight car garages and two common-use laundries.

Cairo Studio Apartment 24m2

Each flat is accessed through external pathways located on the west and south facades. The 24 square metre studio includes a small kitchenette that sits next to the entry hall featuring a gas cooker, sink and storage space; a bathroom; and a living space opposite the entry and kitchenette, connected to the outdoors through a large window which opens to a sun balcony.

Cairo Studio Apartment 24m2

The Cairo Flats Building – Overend’s unique design was thought to be a world first at the time.

Although the studios are small, residents – most of them artists, designers, architects or writers – are still attracted to Cairo Flats because of its history and itsconnection to Melbourne’s inner city gardens, as well as for the building’s proximity to bars, the CBD, universities, museums and art galleries.

The Purple Rose of Cairo is one of the renovation projects recently completed in the building by Architecture Architecture.

Cairo Studio Apartment 24m2

Before (left) and after (right)

“In a studio apartment of such modest dimension, the smallest modifications make a significant difference to the feel and functionality of the space,” the architects said.

Compact wardrobes and functional storage solutions were integrated in the living room with a fold-out bed. These can all be hidden by a full-height curtain, a more flexible element than traditional doors. The space can be quickly converted from a single-bedroom space into a study, a dining room, a party space, or a media room.

Cairo Studio Apartment 24m2

Before (left) and after (right)

A door has been moved from its its original location and a servery window has been added to the kitchen, bringing in more sunlight and providing a strong visual connection between the kitchen and the garden, improving natural ventilation and making the unit’s layout more flexible.

Architecture Architecture has created a simple space “embracing the philosophy of making more with less, with maximum flexibility to address contemporary living needs within a minimum floor area.”

Cairo Studio Apartment 24m2

The living space is connected to the outdoors through a large window opening to a sunny balcony.

“In an era when people are increasingly opting to live in cities and our urban fringes are forever expanding outwards,” the firm said, “we understand the imperative to make more with less, opting for high quality flexible space rather than inflexible specialised spaces – quality over quantity.”

  • Great article that demonstrates that less will be indeed more as the population grows in cities. Clever concept, I’ve seen similar furniture storage concepts in New York.

  • Twenty-four square metres of living space would sound like a turn off to most people but this proves that a fully functional home can be fit into such a small space. I assume we will be seeing more homes like this as urban density increases and people try to avoid rush hour commutes and urban sprawl.