australian practice architects eat has recently completed the award-winning renovation of the fitzroy loft in a historical industrial building in the outskirts of melbourne. the 125-year old macrobertson chocolate factory offers a classical structure complete with saw-tooth roof, aging brick walls and concrete floors, much of which was covered up when converted into a residential building in the early 90’s.
architects eat worked to restore the original character of the industrial space while providing the comfort and warmth of contemporary living. three voids were strategically utilized/exposed in order to breathe new life into the space. the hung ceiling was removed to expose the dramatic height of the pitched roof, opening the clerestory to flood natural light into the home. white-stained wooden planks wrap the ceiling and some of the walls, forming a fluid material and texture which aims to reflect light as well as contrast the rough, worn textures of the original structural elements. the first void consists of the courtyard which functions as a back yard area. surrounded by windows and skylights, this area provides natural light to much of the home as a faux exterior patio. the second void separates the living areas from the bedrooms, forming a natural buffer zone for privacy. within this lofted area, a light-weight suspended bridge cuts through the double-height space, with a mesh floor that further accentuates its construction. the third void consists of a library at the very rear end of the house, where light from above is allowed to cascade across the shelves, highlighting the original timber columns and beams.
the home exhibits a perfect balance of old and new, with a muted and light-toned interior palette of colors that assures a bright space. weathered brick walls and rough-aged steel columns revitalize the structure’s history, harmonizing with the smoothness of new materials. steel framed windows work in conjunction with the clerestories for natural light ad cross ventilation. polished concrete floors restore the feel of the original building, also helping to further reflect light throughout the interior.
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