While the word “cloister” evokes images of monks roaming crumbling monasteries, in fact the term merely refers to a covered walkway, usually with garden connections. Melbourne-based practice MRTN Architects has used the architectural device in a new alteration of a Victorian-era single-fronted terrace house in Carlton.
The addition to the house is placed at the back of the site, with the cloister connecting the two buildings. This layout has a number of benefits, offering an internal link between the two buildings while retaining valuable garden space. By orienting the cloister at the south of the site, the property also gains access to northern sunlight.
Built with red brick and Blackbutt cladding, materials associated with external spaces rather than and interior ones, the cloister retains the feel of an outdoor space, while being completely enclosed with steel framed glazing. “The grain and character of the rear laneway influenced our design and material choices,” says Antony Martin of MRTN.
While providing a circulation link, the cloister also acts as additional living, playing and working space for the residents, and provides thermal mass and cross-circulation to catch the breezes.
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