Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

 

Melbourne-based Oliver du Puy Architects have created a quiet and spiritual retreat for a client based between Australia and London, a high-frequency trader seeking a home base conducive to honing their meditation practice. The project readapts the forgotten rear yard of a 19th-century Victorian shop in inner Melbourne, aptly named Skinny House, courtesy of its 4.2m width.

In aiming to bring as much space and light possible into the 90sqm interior, the architects drew conceptual inspiration from the Japanese concept of ‘shinrin-yoku’, better known as ‘forest bathing’, a practice espousing the health benefits of being immersed in nature.

“The minimalist structure is animated by large apertures and voids which frame a series of vistas out of the building that become part of the landscape of the interior,” explains Oliver Arbes du Puy.

 

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

 

The restrained material palette is striking in its simplicity, using a combination of raw and precious materials including oak, concrete, stainless steel and marble. The street-facing concrete exterior façade is punctuated with an off-form cross, adding an air of monumentality to the humble piece of land, at the same time pragmatically allowing natural light to penetrate deep into the building on both upper levels.

“Light is used as a mediator between space and form, to change the expression of the interior with time, and in doing so connect the occupant with nature,” explains the architect.

 

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

Skinny House in Melbourne by Oliver du Puy Architects | Yellowtrace

 

The design concept references a haiku poem in its approach to the structure of the house, increasing in privacy through ascension with the office and ancillary rooms on level one and bedroom and bathroom on level two. The tiniest touch of opulence comes by way of green marble, cladding a single front entrance step and a shower wall and floor.

Classic and contemporarily minimal pieces of furniture include Roly Poly and Spade chairs by Faye Toogood, and 1972 Bamboletto leather beds by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia. With health and equilibrium often falling by the wayside of life at the trading desk, Oliver du Puy sought to imbue Skinny House with the hallmarks of primitive ritual and connection to one’s own senses.

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