Studio 217 by Amalie Wright & Richard Buchanan
Small Project Architecture: National Commendation
Australian Institute of Architects
Studio 217 is located in the half-basement of the heritage-listed Craigston Building in Brisbane. The tiny, thirty-two-square-metre space was for many years a lawyer’s office. The architects, who are also the owners, wanted an office away from their apartment, which could become a guestroom or a place to escape to.
The studio has been intricately designed, with many layers of detail forming the interior. Existing structure, brick walls and the concrete ceiling are exposed in places, giving vital clues to the history of the original building. Added to this are partial walls of shelves for books, artefacts, wine and art, while elsewhere further hidden cabinets, panels and framed openings give some parts of the space the feeling of being in a yacht cabin, where every square metre matters.
In the main room, an elevated platform adjacent to one of the two existing windows becomes a base for an antique writing desk. Perched up high, it surveys the whole studio in an almost Dickensian twist. Below it, a bench seat conceals a bed that can be rolled out to transform the studio into a pied-à-terre when needed.
Colour and lighting have been used subtly throughout to complete the intriguing interior, which the jury found to be utterly delightful and skilfully conceived, a wonderful “cabinet of curiosities.”