LanewayLOFT is an urban apartment, designed with a spice trader and cook in mind. The kitchen and spice store are prioritised through double-height and almost triple-height spaces and voids.
The main volume at the front of the site is designated as a store for selling spices, where one can conceive walls lined with spice jars utilising the extravagant height. A narrow mezzanine accessed by a ladder provides additional storage in the relatively small footprint, while giving customers a dramatic reveal of the height once fully inside the store.
The dwelling volume contains simple spaces opening to a central void garden, while a strip along the laneway provides an opportunity to give back to the laneway context in the form of garden space. The upper level, housing the most private areas of the home, are contained within a timber wrap façade, which carries around into the circulation void and maintains an upper level datum with the store roof height. Rafters also express the datum and the shared height of both the working and living areas.
Circulation is managed in a simple spine along the existing three storey wall, allowing access from both street frontages, while public access to the store opens to an existing café opposite. The main dwelling circulation holds the functional pods of the home together while being separated by height and voids.
Materiality divides the working and private areas of the design. The heavy material of brickwork provides solidity and strength, allowing the store to act as a kind of vault for spices. The heaviness of the façade is broken up not with windows or doors, but with patterning in perforations and extrusions. The dwelling component is more lightweight, with a timber cladding wrap housing the private areas, and render or lightly colour blockwork supporting the lower level.