by Neometro

From The Archives: Live Work – Mirka Lane, St Kilda

Architecture, High Density Homes - by Tiffany Jade
  • Mirka Lane by NEOMETRO™

5th May, 2021.

Suzuki House in Tokyo is an architectural expression that exemplifies the constraints and resolutions on family living within a dense urban environment. In Melbourne a similar project within a similar context took cues from Suzuki House in what was a pioneering medium-density development for inner Melbourne during the late 1990’s – Mirka Lane by Neometro™.

What Australian-born architect Peter Wilson achieved at Suzuki House was a spatially innovative home across four levels. One that occupies a city corner plot in a way that exudes wit, intelligence and a deeply thoughtful grasp of architectural design behaviours. A built environment that adapts to and manipulates those behaviours to realise a diverse and holistic best-fit solution in contextual accord. 

Mirka Lane by NEOMETRO™Mirka Lane is a 4 townhome development located in St Kilda. At the time of its development, the mid-1990’s, St Kilda was yet to rise to the kaleidoscope of dynamic diversity it is today. By day, it squinted in the glare of natural light with its industrial buildings and shopfronts metaphorically holding a hand up to the suns assault. By night, it came to life, glittering like costume jewellery. Prostitutes and corporates rubbed shoulders in a true melting pot of humanity, dancing in the complex choreography which turns the cogs and lights the fires that keep the wheels of a big city rotating. The big city – Melbourne – cast its shadow upon St Kilda. It’s immediacy and overt connection imbuing a sense of anticipation upon its nearby pocket which was on the cusp of revival.

The 14m x 9m site envelope on which Mirka Lane was constructed has a long list of comparable conditions with Suzuki House. Both are unquestionably tight footprints within an unquestionably dense urban streetscape. Both are surrounded by a highly diverse built environment and both have been redeveloped for residential purposes. Mirka Lane takes from the robust democratic essence of its surroundings, emerging as a form concrete and glazed addition to Melbourne’s laneway culture and addressing a growing need for work/live spaces. The unapologetic material language of the building perfectly transfers across both contexts and is one that would come to define Neometro’s brand identity as developer that realises projects that are both enduring and durable while wholly in touch with the forces driving the cultural landscape. A no-nonsense development approach that amplifies the cityscape nearby but yields to a more domestic atmosphere and puts the needs of the client first. 

Mirka Lane by NEOMETRO™

Japan’s vertical living model and St Kilda’s edgy and accepting cosmopolitan air are brought into a negotiation at Mirka Lane that, in the heady atmosphere of 90’s Melbourne, found a perfect synchronicity. One that spatially maximises a small site to ultimately carve our 4 residential spaces of generous interiors and a wealth of light without foregoing a striking design aptitude alongside construction innovation. 

Words | Tiffany Jade

Photography | Peter Clarke & Derek Swalwell


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