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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
“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.”