Farmer Residences are minimal townhouses located in Melbourne, Australia, designed by Freadman White. Farmer Residences is a collection of four owner-occupied townhouses. Located a stone’s throw away from Richmond’s Swan Street. The urban fabric within the immediate site proximity displays a wide range of building types. This context hints at the area’s incremental evolution from primarily industrial buildings to narrow worker’s dwellings, double fronted dwellings and 1970s townhouse developments to contemporary multi-residential developments.
Site massing opportunities have been maximized to imbue a strong relationship between the proposed built form and Farmer and Cutter streets. The project extends the existing urban fabric; the form is designed to respond to each individual abutting boundary, producing a singular form, punctuated by subtle contextual references.
Existing materials common to the area include brick and render. Weatherboard external cladding features commonly amongst first and second storey lightweight structures. Our reinterpretation of this materiality and the local historic urban fabric has not been a literal response, but rather drawing on a collective memory of forms and materials, layered through subtle shifts of formal play, articulated with soft planting, timber, steel, masonry and concrete.
An example of this design response is evidenced through the new curved geometry of the first and second floor balconies, subtly referencing the existing curved parapet and wing wall of the adjoining terrace dwelling to the east. Employing a semi-sunken ground floor level, also ensured an alignment of the new second floor balcony balustrade with that of the neighbouring heritage dwelling’s parapet.
At the ground plane the pedestrian experience has been enriched through textural and human-scaled interfaces and activated corner frontages, making a positive contribution to the public realm. Moments of delight and detail balance with the legibility of the residences’ entry points; framed double-height entrances finished externally in smooth concrete, punctuate the finer grained textural charred timber facades. At their upper levels, outdoor living zones compliment this enriched ground plane experience. Expressed through modulating balcony depths, again finished in finer grained textured charred timber, these gestures overlook Farmer and Cutter Streets to embrace and enhance their local environ.
Thermal comfort has been considered to these flexible zones; through dual aspect planning, and employment of a thermal chimney effect via the main vertical circulation spine of each home, there is access to natural air cross-ventilation, and natural light to reduce the reliance on artificial lighting. Additionally, the project includes underground rainwater harvesting, solar panels and electric car charging.
View more works by Freadman White
Photography by Gavin Green & Willem Dirk