Treetop Studio by Aileen Sage Architects
Architects _ Aileen Sage Architects _ @aileen_sage
Location _ Paddington, New South Wales
Photo _ Tom Ferguson _ @tfadtomferguson
Builder _ Verdecon
Landscape _ Emily Simpson Landscape Architecture
Quantity Surveyor _ QS+
Consultant Town Planner _ Mersonn
Structural _ Structure Consulting Engineers
Joiner _ Streamline Custom Interiors
Heritage _ John Oultram Heritage + Design
Hydraulics _ Partridge
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“Located in the Paddington Heritage Conservation Area and accessed from the historic and eclectic Mary Place, the Treetop Studio sits propped on stilts above an open carport below. Peeping out from amidst the branches of the neighbouring jacaranda and eucalyptus trees, this small building provides a peaceful place to sit, work and retreat.
Responding to the strict and highly prescriptive requirements of the local council regulations, the design for this project addresses the rear lane with a neat clipped and conservative public face. The form then shifts and skews towards the front terrace house creating a playful and unexpected structure of layered angles and reflections.
This singular structure of one open room is a creative studio space for a writer and musician. The brief was to maximise natural light and provide a simple but inspiring place to work. The challenge was to do so within a tight inner-city footprint with extremely prescriptive regulations.
Areas of exposed rafters articulate angled inner surfaces; a birch ply floor wraps up to provide a wall of bookshelves on one side, a desk on another and a seat concealing the roller door below; an angled skylight to the south provides even natural light whilst cutting down the corner of the form in respect for solar access to the northern neighbour’s backyard; a rust-red steel plate triangular stair points down into the carport; and the inner glazed façade pulls back at an angle from the painted timber-louvred face providing glimpses from below into the tree canopy above.
Working closely with our builder, structural and hydraulic engineers, the services and structural solutions were resolved with material economy and efficiency, without losing sight of the aesthetics. Gutters are concealed behind the side walls and downpipes within the louvred façade. A series of steel portals and the steel plate stair were craned into place providing for an expedient set up for the project on site.
Continuing our collaborative work with Emily Simpson Landscape Architecture, native species are mixed with an edible garden of fruit and vegetables – directly connected to the existing kitchen and dining areas of the house. A new large glazed pivot door with aluminium plate awnings connects the existing house with the central courtyard and frames views of the studio beyond. The native ground cover between the main house and the new studio will spread gradually to create a low maintenance lawn, with the deck to one side providing at once a walkway and an edge to sit.
The Treetop Studio allows for a much-needed separation between work and home life for our clients. Giving them a dedicated work place, whilst still providing a sense of connection and communication with the main house, as well as with the community on the active rear lane behind. Large frameless windows behind the louvred screen open up the whole façade above the desk allowing natural ventilation through the space and a sense of sitting up in the trees amongst the leaves, the branches and the breeze.”