Preservation can go hand in hand with sustainability; instead of demolishing and releasing all that energy already embodied in the materials making up an older building in order to build anew, often the greenest building is the one that's already standing.
In the interest of preserving an outmoded apartment dating back to the 1950s that once housed nurses, Australian design firm J-IN readapted it for modern times, creating a small and efficient living space, packed with surprises.
Located in Fitzroy, Melbourne, the affectionately named "George" is a 28-square-metre (301 square feet) apartment with an existing layout that included several partition walls that made the space feel dim and cramped. To open it up, designer Douglas Wan installed a new steel beam for structural support, which permitted the removal of most of these dividing walls.
In its place, Wan has created a much larger main living space, which can function in a number of ways, thanks to a built-in platform with integrated storage. By taking out various cushions, blankets or other stored items, this multipurpose element creates a space that can transform from a bed, a seating area to a laid-back workspace within moments. The choice of light-coloured walls and materials serves to also give that extra hint of spaciousness.
The corridor leading toward the entrance, kitchen and bathroom is also clad with the same pale plywood for its cabinets and punctuated with black storage accents, thus visually connecting the two spaces.
The kitchen is overwhelmingly black, from its counter down to its tiling. It makes for a dramatic space, but on the other hand, it may be an unfortunate design choice as the dark colouring makes the space feel smaller; however, there is an opening between the kitchen and the main living space that allows for light and sight lines to pass through.
The bathroom carries the same all-black theme: black tiling with red grout as an accent colour. To keep it uncluttered visually, the bathroom has been built as a wet room: there is no glass wall that closes off the shower cubicle.
The apartment's design uses many of the standard small space design ideas we're now familiar with: breaking down walls, installing some multifunctional elements and using materials and colours in a way that expands and connects spaces, instead of closing them off. The resulting effect is that what was once a dark, closed-off space has now become a lighter, more modern place to live, extending the life span of this older building. See more over at J-IN.
[Via: Design Milk]